Last edited by webmaster on 28 February 2012 - 6:28pm

But first the bad news. Last year, over 296,000 people were diagnosed as having leprosy. 

On average, it costs The Leprosy Mission just £20 to cure someone of leprosy. This covers a doctor’s diagnosis, meetings with a physiotherapist to test for nerve damage and to plan treatment (reconstructive surgery / physiotherapy / disability aids, etc.) and counselling. It also includes following up those who have stopped coming to collect their medicines, to ensure they finish their course of treatment. In other cases it pays for outreach programmes for health professionals to visit and test remote communities at a high risk from leprosy.

The crucial factor in providing all this at such a low cost is that the cure for leprosy, multidrug therapy (MDT), has been provided free since 2000 by Novartis, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company. 

Last October, Novartis signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Health Organisation to continue providing MDT until the end of 2015. Without Novartis’s commitment, organisations like The Leprosy Mission would have huge additional costs.

Patients treated through public health centres might also have to pay for the drugs, or go without. So far it is estimated that free MDT has helped more than 5 million people.

From the Spring / Summer edition of “New Day”, The Leprosy Mission’s  magazine. For further information, go to

Contributed by Diane Redwood