Persons suffering from leprosy face thousand indignities every day in India

Did You Know?

LEPROSY is CURABLE, yet…
Causes TRAGIC consequences i​​​​​​Is a 5000-year-old disease still affecting individuals socially, physically and financially with over 100,000 children and adults affected each year, INDIA has 60% of the World’s Leprosy incidence ​​​​​​

AIFO-Leprosy-Awareness

Leprosy Awareness.

AIFO India works to create awareness about Leprosy for early detection, provide treatment reaching remote isolated villages and tribal areas, stop the spread of Leprosy and support initiatives to rebuild lives.

AIFO India works with the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) at Centre, State, District levels, along with Partners and NGOs. Our activites include,

  • Planning, Joint monitoring and evaluation exercises along with the Central Leprosy Division and WHO
  • Sponsoring and conducting Regional State Leprosy Officers Review meetings – along with International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations partners
  • Prevention, control, treatment and rehabilitation of persons affected with leprosy, in integrated health care setting
  • Support for Training (Capacity Building) and Research activities
  • Provision of technical expertise in managing complicated cases
  • Publication of Scientific and Technical materials

Medication and Treatment Plans

Today, leprosy is among the most debilitating diseases known to mankind. Once diagnosed with leprosy, patients face the long and uphill task of recovering and reintegrating into their community. Employers regularly turn away people who have the disease, even if they have been treated and cured. Often people diagnosed with leprosy hide their condition from their families and loved ones, out of fear that they will be ostracised from the community. Even obtaining legal documents such as a driver’s license, ration card, etc. is still very difficult. Often the disease free children of leprosy patients are shunned by the communities they live in.
Evidence suggests that a staggering number of individuals are at risk of being left behind owing to lack of education or income, burdened by low self-esteem, subject to low expectations and diminished in their ability to pursue their dreams.
Even though India has made great strides against the disease, which is neither highly contagious nor fatal, the number of new cases of leprosy has risen over the past few years.

We tackle the challenge posed by leprosy and related disability in multiple ways namely – reconstructive surgery for persons suffering from leprosy related deformity, facilitating access to medication and treatment (including physiotherapy), up-skilling local Healthcare initiatives.

AIFO-India-medication

Medication

Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive Surgery

We identify persons suffering from leprosy related deformities through referrals from NGO partners, local government hospitals, Primary Health Care Centres ( PHC’s), and ASHA workers.
Leprosy, related disability disproportionately affects women, children, and older people. Persons suffering from leprosy, related disability and persons with disability face widespread barriers to accessing services, and experience significantly poorer health outcomes. Reconstructive surgery is an important part of alleviating the challenges of leprosy as the disease often renders its victims incapacitated owing to nerve damage. Typically, surgical procedures can help correct leprosy deformities in hands and feet, nose reconstruction and saving eyesight for people who can no longer open and close their eyes. Reconstructive surgery not only returns the functions to previously useless hands, feet and eyes, it also restores normality to their appearance. This is very critical for the children and young people we serve as it increases social acceptance of previous leprosy patients in the community, and helps them to perform daily tasks and earn a livelihood.
We also support subsequent physiotherapy and post-operative care for patients who have undergone reconstructive surgery.
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DARING TO CHANGE

Manjunath was affected by Leprosy at the age of 16. The earliest signs were pale patches on his chest and legs. It progressed to deformities in the foot and claw fingers on his hand.

Family and community response was very bad when AIFO’s team assessed his Leprosy and referred him to the nearby government hospital for treatment. AIFO’s Counselling and support with Leprosy care even at home helped Manjunath develop a positive outlook. He was able to get married and look forward to being independent.

Manjunath was further supported with candle making training and provided with a machine. This enabled him to earn ₹ 150 per day along with the help of his wife Sujatha, moving on to several orders from villages and different shops.

Leprosy-affected-manjynath

 

Manjunath has also received reconstructive surgery and looks forward to growing in his business .

Disability Inclusion

AIFO India’s community-based inclusive development approach has four key areas of focus :
  • Early intervention and rehabilitation
  • Promoting mainstream education amongst children with disabilities
  • Ensuring livelihood opportunities among youngsters and
  • Promoting self-help groups and disabled people’s organisations
To achieve this, we work with partner NGOs and enable them to conduct screening camps, provide rehabilitation services and assistive devices, integrate children into mainstream schools, train various community stakeholders and promote livelihood activities.

‘When I was 10 years old, no one wanted to play with me in school. Children laughed at my leg and they didn’t understand me.

‘Today I can ride a bicycle and a motor bike. I am surrounded by love thanks to AIFO, my family and friends. I am inspired by Ira Singhal and I want to serve my countrymen, particularly others with disabilities ! ‘

Ponnupoina Nageshwar Rao was born with a crippled leg, the middle child in his family. His parents initially focused on educating his able bodied brothers believing that education would be of no use to him.

AIFO’s help in providing study materials, funding as well as counselling to his family ensured that Ponnupoina got a chance to pursue his education. Ponnupoina’s will to have a normal life made him teach himself how to ride a bicycle and eventually as an adult even ride a motor bike. This was not an easy task and took him years to master. Ponnupoina, passed his 10th and 12th grade examinations and went on to pursue an undergraduate degree in commerce.

Ponnupoina, says that it is only because of the support of AIFO, his family and his optimistic outlook that he has achieved so much.

I believe anything is possible, and the future is full of possibility.