In 2005, the WHO declared the eradication of leprosy. In reality, this only meant that cases had dipped below 10,000. Fast forward to today and there are still around 200,000 cases detected each year.
60% of these cases are in India.
That's 1 case per 10,000 people.
This announcement had serious implications, causing a stagnation in humanitarian efforts to divert the disease and increasing the neglect of leprosy patients.
According to Diana Lockwood from the Department of Clinical Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical medicine. “The difference between reported and observed estimates suggests that up to half of India’s leprosy cases are not being reported”
Still known as Maharogi (big disease) in India, the fear of contracting leprosy hinders timely diagnosis and treatment. For women especially, reluctance to report the early signs of the disease are linked to concerns of being cast out of the matrimonial home.
In the fight to eradicate leprosy, a method of Survey Education and Treatment (SET) was adopted which significantly improved the detection rate. Since SET was stopped in 2005, new cases often seek treatment at private clinics where they are vulnerable to misdiagnosis and exploitation.
The early signs of leprosy are usually light coloured (hypo-pigmented) patches on the skin. These trouble-free signs are ignored until the patient experiences loss of sensation and or mobility, due to nerve damage caused by Mycobacterium Leprae.
Our solutions to help beat leprosy
We provide ulcer management for those with non-healing ulcers triggered by the neglect of insensitive hands and feet.
Social events and trips are regularly organised to combat isolation and loneliness.
We reduce the stigma and improve leprosy awareness through the use of visual material to illustrate the early stages of leprosy and help people identify their symptoms.
Our “Meals on Wheels” service offers cooked meals to those with insensitive and deformed hands.