Global Leprosy Programme

Informal Consultation on stopping discrimination and promoting inclusion of persons affected by leprosy, 14-16 November 2017, New Delhi, India

Leprosy, since ages is associated with deformities in communities where it is prevalent. Ignorance, myths and misconceptions about the disease lead to stigma and to some extent people hesitated to seek treatment for the fear of getting discriminated. Persons affected by leprosy were deprived of social entitlements like disability pensions and contesting elections. Leprosy was ground for divorce in some countries.

Global Leprosy Strategy 2016‒2020; Accelerating towards a leprosy-free World was released in 2016 with a vision of a world without leprosy. The target for stopping discrimination is ‘zero countries with legislations that allow discrimination on the basis of leprosy.

Leprosy-free Palmas in Tocantins State, Brazil

Leprosy-free Palmas in Tocantins State, Brazil
WHO/E. Cooreman

Brazil is the second highest leprosy burden country in the world. In 2016, a total of 25 218 new cases were reported, corresponding to 12.2 per 100 000 population. Among them were 1696 children diagnosed with leprosy. More than half of the cases occur in only five states (out of 27).

Fear and lack of knowledge among health professionals could explain the excessive centralization of diagnosis and the low rate of contact screening. Facing also such challenges, the “Leprosy-free Palmas” project was developed in 2016.

WHO launches online data collection for leprosy

WHO has launched an online data collection tool for leprosy which now facilitates the collection of epidemiological and programmatic indicators from Member countries.

The tool, modelled on the DHIS-2 platform, merges for the first time, epidemiological data and information on stock levels of multi-drug therapy], MDT. This simplifies reporting requirements by endemic countries and allows WHO to monitor progress for the control of leprosy at global level.

Development of Guidelines for the diagnosis, the treatment and prevention of leprosy

The Global Leprosy Programme (GLP), World Health Organization, has started in December 2016 the process to develop the first WHO guidelines for leprosy, to address the areas of diagnosis, treatment and prevention. This guideline is being developed following the GRADE methodology.

As part of that process GLP has set up a Guidelines Development Group (GDG) consisting of 21 persons who are either representatives of the academia, civil society, associations of persons affected by leprosy and national/regional leprosy programme managers to discuss recommendations on the basis of the review of related scientific literature and on considerations related to service delivery and acceptability.

In the spotlight

fact buffet

More than

200,000New cases diagnosed in 2016

Global leprosy update, 2016

Multidrug therapy

16 millionLeprosy patients treated over the past 20 years

Press release

Global Leprosy Strategy

2020Accelerating towards a leprosy-free world

Global Leprosy Strategy 2016-2020