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The Leprosy Mission Trust India

Portrait of a century and a half-old commitment

The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI), founded in 1874 as the ‘Mission to Lepers’ by an Irishman named Wellesley Cosby Bailey, is the largest leprosy-focused non-governmental organisation (NGO) in India. TLMTI is registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and is headquartered in New Delhi, India. The organisation works with people affected by leprosy and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), people with disabilities, and marginalised communities. TLMTI has a diverse set of programmes – Healthcare, Sustainable Livelihood, Community Empowerment, Advocacy, and Research and Training. These programmes are implemented through 14 hospitals, six vocational training centres, five residential care homes for elderly persons affected by leprosy, eight community empowerment projects, and a research lab, spread across 10 states of India.

TLMTI celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2014. What was started in 1874 for giving shelter to persons considered as ‘outcasts’ at a time when there was no cure for leprosy has become India’s largest leprosy-focussed non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Presently, TLMTI has around 900 staff working in various capacities in its institutions and projects. It is a member of The Leprosy Mission Global Fellowship.

The problem of leprosy

Leprosy is an ancient, infectious, neglected tropical disease (NTD) with multidimensional consequences. A potentially crippling disease, leprosy affects millions even today, trapping them in a web of poverty, disability and social exclusion.

Leprosy is unique in that unlike other diseases, the age-old stigma attached to the disease (due to the myths and misconceptions) creates barriers to early diagnosis and treatment. Leprosy, if not diagnosed and treated early, can cause nerve damage resulting in irreversible loss of sensation in hands, feet and eyes. This is followed by a loss of muscle function and paralysis affecting hands, feet and eyes. Injuries sustained in activities of everyday living in limbs and eyes that have lost protective sensation, lead to repeated ulceration and disability. This perpetuates stigma and discrimination against those affected and their families. In fact, the person continues to live with the consequences of the disease even after it is cured.

Current leprosy situation

The World Health Organization reported that in 2016, a total of 214, 783 new leprosy cases were reported from 111 countries worldwide[1]. Data from the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, shows that 135,485 new leprosy cases were detected in India during 2016-17.[2]

  • Our Programmees
  • Our presence in India

TLMTI has its programmes operational in ten states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. These programmes are implemented through 14 hospitals, six vocational training centres, five residential facilities for the care of elderly persons affected by leprosy and having leprosy-related disabilities, eight community development projects, a molecular biology research laboratory, advocacy and communication, and research and training functions.

Our expertise is in the following areas:

  • All aspects of leprosy as a medico-social issue, including specialised leprosy referral service.
  • Primary-level promotive and preventive healthcare through community outreach; institution-based and community-based disability management and livelihood skills training; laboratory-based clinical, and social science research; community-based rehabilitation and inclusive development; advocacy and communication; project management; monitoring and evaluation; training; and audit and risk management.
  • Secondary-level general healthcare (dermatology, ophthalmology, general medicine and general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology).
  • Partnerships

TLMTI works in partnership with many stakeholders. Some of them are:

National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) – a centrally-sponsored health scheme of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, implemented by the States/UTs.

Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya National Institute for Persons with Physical Disabilities – an autonomous organisation under the administrative and financial control of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.

National Institute for the Orthopedically Handicapped (NIOH) – an autonomous body under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

Christian Medical Association of India (CMAI) – a Christian network of hospitals and healthcare professionals promoting medical care in hard-to-reach communities through its member institutions, or by direct technical inputs.

National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) – an apex institution under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, providing financial assistance for a wide range of income generating activities to persons with disabilities.

National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) – a poverty alleviation project implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.

Skills for Progress India (SKIP India) – an all India association of private technical/vocational training institutions promoting skills for employment and self employment.

International Federation of Anti- Leprosy Associations (ILEP) – a federation of 14 international non-governmental organisations. It supports a technical commission of world experts on leprosy.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) – an autonomous public body responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights.

National Commission for Women (NCW) – the apex national-level organisation in India with the mandate of protecting and promoting the interests of women.

World Health Organization – a specialised agency of the United Nations that works with governments and other partners in more than 150 countries to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people.

  • TLMTI’s contributions to bringing about change in the lives of people affected by leprosy

Throughout its 144 years of existence, TLMTI has addressed the needs of millions of people affected by leprosy through its various programmes. In the last five years alone (2013-17) its programmes have:

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  • Our Vision

    People affected by leprosy living with dignity in a transformed, inclusive society that has overcome leprosy.

     We aim to achieve transformation of society, communities, and people affected by leprosy, so that leprosy, as a disease, and its associated deep-rooted, age-old fear and stigma are overcome. And because of this, people affected by leprosy are included in the development process and live as valued and useful members of society.

  • Our Mission

    We work with individuals and communities disadvantaged by leprosy, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, by addressing their physical, mental, social and spiritual needs to uphold human dignity and eradicate leprosy.

  • Our Values

    To be like Jesus

    Being like Jesus means that our lives will be influenced by His life and teachings, which will reflect in our work/activities.

    As a reflection of this value, we will:

    • work with compassion
    • treat everyone with dignity and respect
    • value men and women
    • be servant-leaders
    • be responsive to the needs of people affected by leprosy and other marginalised sections of society
    • take time apart as an organisation to retreat into God’s presence to find direction, wisdom, and ability to move forward in our service to Him

    Professionalism

    Being professional means that as an organisation, we are committed to excellence and high ethical standards in our attitude, actions and management systems.

    As a reflection of this value, we will:

    • strive for excellence in all we do
    • be good stewards of time and resources
    • mentor and build capacity of our teams at all levels
    • foster team culture and ownership
    • develop good systems and practices
    • be accountable to those whom we seek to assist and those who fund that assistance
    • be transparent in our dealings
    • demonstrate mutual respect
    • be participatory in our practice

    Integrity

    Having integrity means that individually as staff, and collectively as an organisation, we will conduct ourselves honourably in all our actions.

    As a reflection of this value, we will:

    • be truthful
    • be transparent in our activities and processes
    • be reliable
    • adhere to the highest standards of service and accountability
    • be good stewards of all that is entrusted to us

    Relevant

    Being relevant means that as an organisation, we will strategically develop and adapt to the current environment.

    As a reflection of this value, we will:

    • be a learning organisation
    • be sensitive to the changing environment and the emerging needs of the organisation and primary stakeholders
    • be innovative
    • accept diversity
    • be participatory in our working

    Upholding Justice

    Upholding justice means that as an organisation, we will uphold social justice and equity for equal access to community resources and opportunities.

    As a reflection of this value, we will:

    • protect and promote human rights collaboratively
    • support equity
    • support fair dealings
    • prioritise the most vulnerable and marginalised people
    • engage with communities in a participatory way to secure justice

    Inclusive

    Being inclusive means that as an organisation, we will ensure that all marginalised and excluded people are stakeholders in the development processes.

    As a reflection of this value, we will:

    • be inclusive in our programmes and policies
    • accept diversity
    • accept and work with people from different backgrounds
    • demonstrate mutual respect
    • be non-discriminatory
    • be participatory