Integrated Leprosy Services – Health Systems Strengthening
Location: 8 districts in Bangladesh
Program Length: July 1, 2016 – December 31, 2018
2018 Fundraising Need: $ 370,000
Why the Program Exists: Bangladesh is considered one of the next 11 emerging economies, but you wouldn’t believe it if you visited certain areas of the country. People living with leprosy reside in impoverished districts and face an uphill battle due to a lack of access to quality treatment and trained medical workers. Untrained workers often do not have the knowledge and skills to diagnose or treat leprosy and at times, contribute to ongoing stigma and isolation due to false beliefs about the disease.
The program helps people affected by leprosy in eight endemic districts, including capital city Dhaka by improving the quality of leprosy services, training health workers and educating the community about leprosy and working to reduce stigma faced by people affected by the disease.
Reporting period from January 1 – Dec. 31, 2017:
- Provided assistive devices to 1,335 people with disabilities. This included crutches, wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs
- Organized 2,522 leprosy educational sessions, reaching 105,937 people
- Diagnosed 633 new patients with leprosy
- Taught self-care techniques to 1,680 people
- Trained over 3,000 healthcare workers
Your gift will go towards:
- Providing an Early Diagnosis and Cure for new leprosy patients
- Providing protective footwear and assistive devices such as crutches, wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs for people with disabilities
- Training health workers, community members, and government workers to treat leprosy and reduce stigma
- Working with local healthcare facilities to treat patients within their own community areas
- Organizing leprosy awareness education sessions and workshops in target communities
- Ensuring equal access to people affected by leprosy of both sexes and of all ages
- Improving gender equity by training a community leader to ensure access to female and male health care workers is available so that both female and male patients have the option to be examined by someone of their own gender, this is often a cause for females to avoid being treated
Treatment at Last
Ahnaf*, a mobile service technician, had been suffering from leprosy for 18 months. When he realized he could no longer perform his job, he went to a nearby doctor, who was unable to diagnose him. The doctor hadn’t been trained to identify and treat leprosy. In November 2017, Ahnaf consulted a skin specialist who then referred him to the Gaibandha leprosy clinic supported through an effect:hope program. By this time, Ahnaf’s hands were beginning to claw. Clinic staff confirmed that he had leprosy and immediately provided him with Multi-Drug Therapy. Fifteen days after he began his treatment, program staff visited Ahnaf. He told them that before he was referred to the clinic, he already knew he had leprosy because he had attended a community awareness program about the disease. However, he didn’t come for treatment earlier because he knew that, as a leprosy patient, others would exclude him and his business would be affected. We are grateful that Ahnaf sought treatment and hope that with more community awareness and education, stigma for this disease and others will be eliminated.
*Name has been changed to protect patient’s privacy.
The goal of this project is to support a strong, resilient health system that provides timely, accessible and affordable care for people affected by leprosy.
Funding and Implementing Partners:
This innovative approach will be implemented by effect:hope, in partnership with The Leprosy Mission International Bangladesh.