West Bengal

TLM Purulia Hospital

The district of Purulia is located in the southern part of West Bengal. It is a drought-prone area, with people mainly depending on the monsoon for agriculture and farming. 37% of the district population is below the poverty line. The economy of the Purulia district is mainly driven by the industrial sector and tourism

As far as the healthcare centres are concerned, the district has 14 Block Primary Health Centres and one district hospital in the town. The district town is well connected by roads and trains but the villages do not have proper communication facilities. People from remote villages have to walk about 10-30 km to reach the nearest bus stand or railway station. It becomes expensive when it comes to tertiary medical care, as they have to go out of the district every time.


TLM Purulia Hospital was established in the year 1888.

It all started with Rev. Henry Uffman, a German missionary, and pastor of the local Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church in Purulia, West Bengal, in 1888. Seeing the suffering of persons affected by leprosy thrown out of their houses because of the fear and stigma associated with the disease, Rev. Uffman built thatched huts at the southern part of Bhatbandh Christian Burial ground (afterwards it was shifted to the present place) to provide them care and shelter. The Mission to Lepers (now, The Leprosy Mission Trust India) was associated with Rev. Uffman’s work from the very beginning.

The hospital always kept pace with the latest developments in leprosy care. In the 1950s Dr Paul Brand pioneered reconstructive surgery for leprosy patients, and in 1954, doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists of the hospital were trained in reconstructive surgery.​ From its humble beginnings, the hospital has grown into a specialist leprosy hospital cum community hospital catering to leprosy patients and general patients in rural West Bengal.

The facilities provided by the hospital include out-patient facilities, in-patient facilities, operating theatre, laboratory services, ECG services, X-ray services, counselling, physiotherapy, pharmacy, MCR protective footwear and artificial limbs.

Goal of the hospital

The hospital aims to provide holistic care to leprosy patients and others in the general community in and around Purulia district. It also aims to promote inclusion of people affected by leprosy in the mainstream.

The hospital aims to achieve its goal through:

  • Keeping leprosy services as its primary focus – by diagnosing, treating, and managing leprosy complications and reducing deformities through prevention of impairment and disability (POID) activities and reconstructive surgery.
  • Building leprosy expertise by building the capacity of healthcare providers – government and other NGOs in the diagnosis and management of leprosy.
  • Building good referral systems with general healthcare (GHC) by referring patients to the Primary Health Centre, and also getting referrals from them for the management of complication of leprosy.
  • Developing people affected by leprosy through providing rights awareness, livelihood opportunities, and advocacy, through relevant partnerships. 



Outpatient Inpatient
The hospital provides holistic care for the following specialities:

  • leprosy treatment and management
  • dermatology
  • general medicine
  • general physiotherapy
  • general surgery
  • ophthalmology
  • obstetrics and gynaecology
  • reconstructive surgery

In2015, the hospital provided 40,800 general consultations, with:

  • 5% leprosy
  • 50% dermatology
  • 19% general medicine
The hospital has an 80-bedded in-patient wing that provides inpatient facility with 24-hour nursing care. In 2015,

  • 890 leprosy patients admitted, mainly for eye care, ulcer, surgery, and lepra reaction and neuritis.
  • 1,300 general patients admitted.

About 15,000 leprosy bed days and 4,500 general patient bed days were utilised.



Support services (lab tests; X-ray, ECG, and ultrasound; physiotherapy; counselling):

  • 35,000 lab tests, including 3,000 skin smear examinations for leprosy, 13,900 haematology tests and 12,700 biochemistry tests done in 2015.
  • 1,300 patients underwent physiotherapy.
  • 2,100 leprosy patients counselled.


Prevention of impairment and disability (POID) in leprosy:

For prevention of impairment and disability in leprosy patients, the hospital provides patient education, physiotherapy, MCR protective footwear, etc, to leprosy patients. In 2015:

  • 500 leprosy patients diagnosed with reaction/neuritis given appropriate treatment.
  • 125 ulcer surgeries done.
  • 1,600 pairs of MCR protective footwear manufactured in-house were supplied to leprosy patients. Some of them were supplied to the government also.
  • 400 orthoses manufactured at the artificial limbs manufacturing unit of the hospital were also supplied to leprosy patients.


Community outreach:

About 220 people affected by leprosy and people from marginalised communities were supported through the hospital’s community outreach programme. They were supported in accessing government social welfare schemes for education, economic development, healthcare, housing, insurance, livelihood pension, etc.