In the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), leprosy and complications of lymphatic filariasis are pervasive. There is a severe shortage of healthcare workers and clinics due to security reasons. As a result, patients often go without adequate care, and that leads to severe and permanent disabilities.
Parents with leprosy-related disabilities struggle to find work. With a heavy reliance on farming for survival, disability due to leprosy, prevents them from work. Because of this, families affected by leprosy suffer from extreme poverty. Children are forced to work, leaving very few choices for their future.
The stigma of leprosy is still rampant in these communities where leprosy is seen as a curse. Those living with obvious disability are excluded and their families pushed to the outer edges of the community. Mental health is a major public health challenge. We need your help to train healthcare workers to engage with the communities, helping families and neighbors understand that leprosy can be cured.