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Close contacts, like family members, of persons affected by leprosy are at highest risk of also developing leprosy.

When I was diagnosed with leprosy, they also examined my family. It turned out that my father, mother, brother and sister all had leprosy

Marchel first started noticing something was wrong with his fingers. At some point, he couldn’t move them anymore. He went to the local health clinic where he was eventually diagnosed with leprosy. Normally, the health worker would provide treatment for the patient and that’s it. With the help of NLR’s leprosy-friendly village programme there are now enough resources available in Sulawesi to conduct successful contact tracing.

The health worker visited Marchel at home to also meet and examine his family members. It turned out that the whole family had leprosy. Luckily, the symptoms were still mild and everyody was cured without any great physical complications.

It’s important that people are more aware about leprosy, so they know there is medication and leprosy is curable. And then I don’t have to be ashamed or shut myself out.

Health workers like technical advisor Dr. Teky from NLR Indonesia are very happy to make this change in people’s lives, stating: the results of the leprosy-friendly village programme are: we can detect early, and provide proper treatment. So consequences like disabilities and social rejection can be avoided.”