With a bold new approach — tracing the contacts of diagnosed persons and giving preventive antibiotics (PEP) — we can, for the first time, prevent leprosy. PEP is a major breakthrough in leprosy prevention. Some models indicate that if PEP and contact screening are implemented, leprosy transmission (indicated best by new child leprosy cases), could be completely eliminated within 15-20 years.
However, PEP will not be successful without reducing stigma, which delays care-seeking, often leading to late diagnosis and a lifetime of disability. The proposed project will foster sustainable peer-led networks for persons affected by the disease to increase understanding and inclusion, reduce stigma and discrimination, and encourage health-seeking.
The proposed project, recognized as a ‘Top 100’ proposal in the 100&Change competition, will break the chain of transmission in 8 countries where 90% of leprosy cases occur. With case finding, contact tracing and PEP for up to 23 million contacts, and special follow-up for close family members, we’ll reduce the number of new cases by 50%, targeting the end of child leprosy by 2030 and, subsequently, all transmission.
More information can be found here.