A major feature of any International Leprosy Congress are the poster presentations. The 19th ILC in Beijing was no exception. Among those on hand to discuss their work were Satish Kumar Paul (left photo), Moises Chitumba and Jean-Pierre Brechet (center photo), and Dr. Jean-Norbert Mputu.
Paul (Schieffelin Institute of Health Research & Leprosy Centre, Karigiri, India) and his colleagues designed a community intervention program to motivate leprosy-affected individuals with impairments to identify an appropriate livelihood option. Members of local disability organizations helped these individuals get to know their rights and the benefits available to them. Focus-group discussions with village leaders and administrative officers helped the community take a leading role in monitoring these intervention programs for successful inclusion of people affected by leprosy in mainstream society.
Chitumba and Brechet (SOLE Angola) were part of a team that organized awareness campaigns in 32 municipalities in 15 provinces in Angola between 2012 and 2015. They were able to demonstrate how providing accurate information about leprosy and helping to lessen stigma resulted in a 22% increase in new cases detected because of reduced fear in the community. Their work also underlined the importance of increasing awareness in schoolchildren to influence families and households, since new cases detected in children and females increased by 5% and 17%, respectively, as a result.
Dr. Mputu (National Leprosy Program Manager, Democratic Republic of Congo) oversaw a program of active case finding for intensifying leprosy elimination in eight provinces in the DRC. Applying for special funds from the Nippon Foundation made available following the July 2013 Bangkok Declaration, the aim was to increase case detection, treat 100% of new cases with MDT and provide care to all new cases with disabilities due to leprosy. The activities resulted in 1,488 new cases of leprosy being detected, or a 75% increase compared to the number detected in the same health zones in 2013.