News

New Initiatives
 
Walk to beat leprosy 2017

On Sunday, 29th January, 2017, as part of anti-leprosy fortnight, LEPRA Society a pan-India Non-Government Organisation headquartered in Hyderabad working in six states, organised a walk to beat leprosy. The Honourable Mayor Shri Bonthu Rammohan flagged off the walk.  At the inaugural function other special guests included Mr. N.Mukesh Kumar – ex Indian Hockey captain, Mr. Goverdhan Reddy, Mr. S. Hari Vardhan Reddy, Mr. V.B. Fadnavis Regional Executive Director- NTPC Ltd, Mr. Prakash Raj, Film Actor and Dr John Babu State Leprosy.
In her welcome address, Dr. V. Rukmini Rao, Chairman, LEPRA Society, appreciated the presence of the Mayor as it showed Hyderabad cares for leprosy. She stressed that there is no need to fear leprosy as it curable and she urged those present in the Walk will spread this message.

Mallikarjuna and Sayamma, two of the beneficiaries from the Shantinagar leprosy Colony, Amberpet were thankful to LEPRA for the emotional and financial support provided by LEPRA.

All the dignitaries present garlanded the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi.

Shri VP Fadnavis, Executive Director, NTPC, expressed happiness at the presence of various personalities from various backgrounds and young people at this Walk to spread the message to eradicate leprosy. Actor Prakash  Raj captivated the audience with a story - the moral of  which was not to judge anyone  or socially exclude anyone. He emphasised awareness and knowledge are powerful as they help to drive away fear. He said he was happy to have got a call to attend this event and he said we should take a pledge to consciously fight leprosy. N. Mukesh Kumar, Ex Indian Hockey Captain, mentioned that the presence of celebrities from politics, sports and films and from all religions proves that LEPRA has support from all of them. In his address, the Chief Guest underlined the fact that leprosy is curable and medicines are free. He expressed sadness over the fact that two beneficiaries who narrated their experiences were residents of a leprosy colony in Hyderabad city. This shows that they have been alienated from society. He was touched by the presence of LEPRA General Body member N Janardhan Reddy, whose experience in the field of leprosy was more than his own age! The celebrities released balloons and the Walk was flagged off by the Mayor. The honourable Mayor accompanied by dignitaries, motivated the walk participants by joining them for a stretch of the walk during which slogans like “Leprosy is Curable”, Multi-Drug Therapy is available” and “Do not stigmatise people affected by Leprosy” were  raised by the participants who walked from Peoples Plaza to Lumbini Park and back. There were approximately 1100 participants from all walks of life including people affected by leprosy, students, medical professionals, employees of corporate organisations, Bharat Scouts Guides, cadres of National Service Scheme, LEPRA Society Management Committee members and staff. The walk was sponsored by citizens who contributed in cash as well as kind. Media Coverage :http://www.eenadu.net/district/inner.aspx?dsname=Hyderabad&info=hyd-gen16 - Eenadu

 
Junagarh Netra Chikitsalaya (JNC)

Eye care programmes are initiated at Junagarh Netra Chikitsalaya (JNC), Odisha.  On 22 January 2017, 14 cataract cases were being successfully operated.

 
Empowering a poor family towards Education
“CHAHA (Wish) project is supporting children of persons affected by leprosy to continue their education."

A concept for educational support for children infected/affected with leprosy was evolved and submitted to Oracle. This grant from Oracle helps to reduce barriers in education at seven leprosy endemic districts of Telangana and Madhya Pradesh states. The educational support programme will serve children whose families cannot afford to send them to schools, youth who discontinued their education and seeking vocational courses in skill development opportunities.

Health Care Wash Project
Ensuring Safe water, sanitation and Hygiene
LEPRA Society is implementing this new project with the support of Water Aid since November 2014 in the districts of Nizamabad and Vizianagaram in selected Primary/Community Health Centres (PHC/CHC), Area and District Hospitals (AH/DH) and Villages of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Districts

PHC

CHC

AH

DH

Villages

Nizamabad

41

14

3

1

82

Vizianagaram

68

11

1

1

136

Total

109

25

4

2

218

To bring change in policy implementation scenario on water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure as well as maintenance by health service providers in healthcare facilities is ensured with the following objectives.

* To ensure water and sanitation rights of people in healthcare facilities.
* To build the capacity of water and sanitation committees on WASH.
* To take up a disease trend analysis (among children below six years and neo-natal).
* To engage with government to improve WASH infrastructure in healthcare facilities.

LEPRA Society with its vast experience in public health problems, has now attempted to address water and sanitation problems in rural / tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh.

Progress so far ……..

The project has completed Base Line Survey and conducted capacity building trainings to the selected Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs) in enhancing their knowledge and skills in Vizianagaram and Nizamabad districts. It also organised Kalajatha programme creating awareness about WASH and VHSNCs in selected villages. The Base line survey findings were disseminated to the district and state officials to evolve a suitable action plan to address the issues identified from the study.

Foot-care remedy in remote areas
The launch of the integrated mobile foot care unit in Bihar as a pilot initiative is a first-of-its kind effort to ensure foot care needs to people suffering disabilities and those living in far flung areas who cannot access such facilities The aim is to improve the quality of life of people disabled by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis through the provision of quality personalised footwear, improving mobility and reducing risk of amputation.

LEPRA Society Bihar unit has a successful history of providing protective footwear to an abnormal foot function due to leprosy and LF. It is well accepted by beneficiaries. LEPRA Bihar provides more than 3,000 pairs of protective footwear to beneficiaries, also supplies to State Governments and ILEP agencies as per their request.
LEPRA, in India, has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing high quality protective footwear for its beneficiaries. Each patient is initially given a bio-mechanical assessment. Footwear is then handmade from micro cellular rubber with podiatry appliances personalised for each patient’s unique requirements. This customised product protects from external trauma and injury, and provides shock absorption.
The proposed mobile unit is a new initiative by LEPRA and Sam Utthan (the Bihar State forum of people disabled by leprosy). The main purpose is to reach out to disabled people who cannot access the footwear services they need. The van will visit leprosy colonies and areas of high LF morbidity. The staff of the unit will move from location to location, take necessary measurements, dress ulcers, train individuals in self-care and provide customised footwear before moving to the next location. During the course of one year they will:

  1. Manufacture 3,000 pairs of shoes, each designed for individual needs

  2. Train 1500 disabled people in self-care techniques improving mobility and reducing infections

  3. Dress ulcers and provide dressing materials for 1500 patients, reducing recurrent ulcers by 80%

  4. Reach more than 150,000 people with health education messages

  5. Identify and refer new cases to the relevant government health facility

LEPRA’s health education van is coverted to a mobile shoe unit. If this pilot initiative is successful then it will be necessary in the future to consider purchasing and converting a new van.
LEPRA has designed and implemented the first Mobile Foot-Care unit in Bihar to provide exclusive services in protective footwear to 1500 person (2 pairs in a year) living in 63 leprosy colonies across districts in Bihar in collaboration with NLEP and ILEP agencies. This is the first innovation in India to deliver protective footwear at the doorsteps along with the services of IEC van. The IEC van only does awareness programmes, whereas the mobile van manufactures and delivers protective footwear to its beneficiaries.
LEPRA Society launched “Mobile Foot Care unit services in Bihar on the occasion of International Disability Day on 3rd December 2014. This is the first-of-its-kind effort in mobile foot care services in India. Inaugurated by the State Leprosy Officer, the mobile van will provide customised protective footwear (made in micro cellular rubber) and self-care education to the clients at the community level in order to increase the access and utilisation of services to avert worsening of the deformity.
One thousand five hundred people disabled by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis will have a significantly improved quality of life through the provision of footwear that meets their specific disability. Their earning capacity will be enhanced through increased mobility. These individuals would otherwise not be able to access these services due to the remoteness of their homes and the lack of services locally. In addition they will receive training in caring for their feet reducing future problems, at a minimal cost .
In addition, this pilot initiative will also provide valuable data to assess the cost effectiveness of this approach and can help in lobbying with the government to provide similar such services in remote areas.

Mobile footcare : LEPRA Society Bihar has taken an initiative to provide the protective footwear through mobile van in 63 colonies of Bihar with support of Pavers Shoe. It is providing two pairs protective footwear to each person in a year. Microcellular Rubber (MCR) footwear is supplied to the patients with insensitive feet by the District cell through PHC/CHC under NLEP but it is inadequate. The leprosy colony people are not getting footwear under this provision. This van started to cater services from April this year. They have covered 57 colonies and provided 1270 pairs footwear covering 842 men and 428 women. The DLO, NLEP staff, local NGO's and CBO's have well appreciated the services of the van. They said that LEPRA has to fulfill the need of the district as well as persons affected by leprosy staying in the colony.

RESTORING LIVES OF FORGOTTEN PEOPLE IN BIHAR
This new project has been launched with the aid of Big Lottery Fund
in Samastipur district, Bihar

The Big Lottery Fund project is being implemented in Samastipur district of Bihar which has the highest LF burden (i.e. 2,01,467 lymphoedema (elephantiasis) cases and 1,01,275 hydrocele cases) covering 1.4 million population in 465 villages of seven endemic blocks. The primary beneficiaries will be 1,16,000 people affected by LF and 4,000 people affected by leprosy from 465 villages of Samastipur district who live on less than INR 30 per day. About 55% of those with lymphoedema are women and 45% are men. Hydrocele affects men only, so men form 67% of the total target beneficiaries.
The project tries to address the issues of people affected by LF through self-care practices, access to information, linking with government referral services, school health programmes etc.
LEPRA Society has been working under NLEP in Samastipur district since year 2000 towards implementation of technical support teams. LEPRA operations in Bihar supported Bihar government in LF programmes towards Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign since 2008, by disseminating key health messages, drug distribution and training government health workers.
From 2005 onwards, LEPRA implements home and community-based approaches to tackle LF cases in the states of Bihar and Odisha. LEPRA’s integrated experiences in Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention for LF and leprosy were adopted by WHO.
In July 2013, LEPRA Society was again invited by Bihar government for support in the seventh round of MDA programmes in Bhagalpur and Munger districts, and also to assess and evaluate the impact of MDA. This project enables the government to expand its outreach in MDA for Samastipur district benefitting the target groups.
LEPRA Society has been working with the state governments of Bihar and Odisha to facilitate access and improve service provision for people with LF disabilities. A research study was also conducted by LEPRA Society to assess the impact of LF on poor households in Bihar and Odisha. The study findings concluded that disability increases over lifetime for an affected person and hence, early detection and interventions are important in preventing its consequences. Therefore, it is essential that people diagnosed with LF have immediate access to treatment and disability management.
Since then (year 2013), LEPRA Society and Lepra (UK) were consulting the local communities, state government and CBOs to understand gaps in existing services and provide sustainable and holistic solution for people affected by LF and leprosy. People in the entire seven blocks of Samastipur lack faith in public health systems. They seek treatment services from traditional healers and unqualified village ‘doctors’. To overcome the problem, painkillers were the only solution for their problems, and they continue to lead a life of embarrassment, fear and shame with reluctance to seek treatment.
The Government of Bihar currently focuses on Mother and Child Health, TB, polio control programmes. It lacks political will, resources, knowledge and skills to implement a comprehensive disability programme (LF and leprosy). The Mass Drug Administration programme is considered as a magic bullet by the government in stopping LF transmission. There is a serious shortage of skilled staff (more than 30% of government health staff positions in Bihar are not filled) at the PHCs. These PHCs also lack surgical facilities and disability care services. Men suffering with hydrocele seek local doctor’s help to puncture their scrotal sacs to release the fluid collected in the testicles, resulting in infections and sometimes even death due to hydrocele. Local NGOs and CBOs are neither the key stakeholders nor considered part of this programme by the government.
In June 2014, Lepra consulted the Department of Social Welfare / Department of Social Securities and Disabilities, Samastipur to establish the need for people of LF disability. It was apparent that the government refuses to recognise people with LF related disabilities to be eligible for disability benefits.
The project, “RESTORING LIVES OF FORGOTTEN PEOPLE IN BIHAR, INDIA” , drawn upon with the support of these government departments, is a combined approach of leprosy and lymphatic filariasis, demonstrating the synergies in preventing disabilities. A first project on disability in the world was awarded by the Big Lottery Fund, launched in Samastipur district on April 10, 2015. This project forms the basis in providing services to the emerging needs of people affected by lymphatic filariasis (1,16,000) and leprosy (4,000) including 25,000 hydrocele surgeries.
A “Brochure” was also launched by the delegates present for the launch ceremony. LEPRA Society acknowledges the support of Big Lottery Fund, state government and local CBOs and NGOs. This funding supports aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities.

Malaria Programme
The GFATM (Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) Round 9, “IMCP – II” programme is being implemented by CARITAS India in 5,663 villages and in 48 districts in partnership with 10 Sub Recipients for universal coverage, catalyzing decline in the malaria related mortality and morbidity and thereby contributing to achievement of national goals and MSGs.
LEPRA Society is selected by Caritas INDIA (Principal Recipient) as one of the Sub-Recipients for the state of Odisha for implementing Malaria project in the districts of Keonjhar, Sundergarh and Mayurbhanj under the overall management and guidance of Caritas INDIA and State vector borne disease control programme under Intensified Malaria Control Project (IMCP) – II guidelines. The project period is till December, 2017.

 
Goodbye Leprosy Trust - Curtain Raiser and Logo Launch

The Goodbye Leprosy Trust (GBLT) a formally registered trust established in August, 2013 by five organisations : ALERT-INDIA (Association for Leprosy Education, Rehabilitation and Treatment – India); AIFO INDIA (Amici of Raoul Follereau); GLRA (German Leprosy and TB Relief Association – India); LEPRA Society; SWISS EMMAUS INDIA (Swiss Emmaus Leprosy Relief Work India); with leprosy programmes as their core area of work. The trust was formed with a purpose to mobilise financial resources locally in India to eradicate leprosy. The members of GBLT have vast experience in implementing leprosy control activities across India, providing essential services to people affected by leprosy. The GBLT directly implements leprosy programmes and are closely associated with affected communities at all levels – district, state, and national level and collaborates with Government of India (GoI) and its respective state governments including leprosy societies.

 
India NGO Award

LEPRA Society submitted an application in a unique national competition “India NGO Awards 2013/2014”.  These awards organised by the Resource Alliance and duly sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation and EdelGive Foundation were, categorised into Small, Medium and Large. They are bestowed on NGOs showcasing successful models and best practices being adopted.  The most coveted awards are in the social sector honouring, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) adopting good standards, innovations and practices while implementing their programmes.
LEPRA Society, serving the community for the past 25 years, stood fourth amongst the 400 NGOs application received by the organising committee. It was chosen as one of the top four NGOs under “Large” category and was felicitated in an award function on July 26, 2014 at Delhi.
A Case Book of India NGO Awards 2013/2014 was published, highlighting the achievements of NGO awardees.

 
Silver Jubilee Celebrations at New Delhi

LEPRA Society organised an event at Jacaranda Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi on 11 July, 2014 to commemorate its silver jubilee.
Around 150 members from various NGOs, government    officials, donor agencies and media participated in this event. It was a proud moment for the organisation which works to in leprosy, TB, HIV/AIDS, Lymphatic Filariasis, malaria and eye care and also strives to remove stigma associated with these diseases thereby trying to improve the lives of the affected persons.
Mr Alok Mukopadhyay , Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India; Dr. Vishwa Mohan Katoch, Secretary are the Chief Guests for the event, addressed the problems which arise when access to health-care services is not available, especially for deprived, excluded and marginalised people.  The support and collaboration of the government, partners and International donor community has been crucial in the growth of the organisation and this was acknowledged. 
We thank all our participants and dignitaries who made it convenient to attend the event. LEPRA Society expresses its gratitude to the Chief Guests

Mr. Alok Upadhyay, CE, Voluntary Health Association of India and the other guest is Dr. V.M. Katoch, Secretary. Please add Dr. V.M. Katoch, Secretary, Department of Health Research & Director General, Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) for gracing the occasion and delivering goodwill messages.

 
Sreyassu CBO Building Inauguration

On 17, October 2013, the Sreyassu CBO inaugurated its new building at Bhimavaram Village, Krishna District. The building opening ceremony was graced by Shri. P.B. Gopala Krishna, President – Mfg., The RAMCO Cements Limited along with Dr. G.V.K Prasad, Executive President – Operations, The KCP Limited, Muktyala. Speakers included Shri. Madan Mohan. G, Vice President – Admin, Shri. T. Sridhar Reddy – Senior General Manager – Works, B.S.P. Raju, Senior General Manager – Works, Mr. Omprakash – Head, Finance – LEPRA Society, Dr. Raja Kesava Prasad – AGM, Medical and OHS, Shri. Chandra Mouli, Proprietor – VRS Transport, Mr. Sambasiva Rao - Contractor, Mr. Narasimha Raju from Lions Club attended the meeting. The occasion is attended by the donors, supporters, team of The KCP Limited, The RAMCO Cements Limited and The LEPRA Society.