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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: Women and Leprosy

Girls and women affected by leprosy face “triple jeopardy,” says new report.

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The report can be downloaded from the ILEP website.

A new report to be published on March 8, International Women’s Day, argues that girls and women affected by leprosy are triply discriminated against because of their gender, the disabilities that can result from the disease and the impact of its stigma.

Prepared by the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP), “Triple Jeopardy: Tackling the Discrimination Facing Girls and Women with Leprosy” warns that the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, due to be agreed in October 2015, will fail in their aim to “leave no one behind” if discrimination against girls and women affected by leprosy is not tackled.

“Such girls and women have all too often become invisible and lost their rights to health, education, employment, and to marry and found a family,” the report states. This invisibility means that “not only do they receive treatment much later than their male counterparts, but they are often not included in official figures either.”

Among the report’s recommendations are that the WHO develop a target to ensure timely reporting for women — Grade 2 disability rates should be no higher than in men and decline at a similar rate — and that national health programs should identify the barriers to early detection in women, implement strategies to ensure early reporting and report all data at the national level disaggregated into female and male, children and adults.