LEPRA Health in Action works to treat, educate and support people in some of the world's most deprived countries. Originally formed in 1924 with the aim 'to rid the British Empire of leprosy' we have built on our extensive experience to address not only prevention and treatment of leprosy, but also other diseases of poverty including lymphatic filariasis, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. In order to do this we need to continue to increase the availability of health care and improve its quality.
During the course of our work we are called upon not only to directly treat patients but also to work with governments and community organisations on new programmes, as well as to strengthen and improve networks and infrastructure for health that are already in place.
Apart from the medical aspects of disease we also have to deal with the social and psychological effects. We hear heart rending stories of families torn apart, rejection and exclusion because of the myths and fears that surround disease. We can counteract this of course through our programmes of education within communities but these are long term activities as deeply held beliefs are sometimes hard to overcome.