Equipping the frontline health workers to lead the fight against leprosy

SALUR (ANDHRA PRADESH):  The Government of India had declared in 2005 that leprosy had been eliminated as a public health problem in India. Ever since, leprosy has become less of a priority for the Government of India. Allocation of government funds dwindled, private funding dried up and training in leprosy for government health workers became dysfunctional. Grievously enough, since then the incidence of leprosy started growing in the country with over 130,000 new cases being detected every year.

Understanding that equipping the grassroots-level health workers with the knowledge and skills to diagnose cases of leprosy early is crucial in eliminating the disease, The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI) regularly trains grassroots-level community health workers in diagnosing leprosy and referring the suspected cases to nearby Public Health Centres (PHCs) for treatment.

As part of this initiative, TLM Salur Hospital medical staff, along with government healthcare staff, trained over 60 ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwives) and ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activists) in signs and symptoms of leprosy and to diagnose cases of leprosy, on November 12, at TLM Salur Hospital, Andhra Pradesh.

More than anything else, these grassroots-level interventions bring enormous returns in controlling the onslaught of leprosy.