16 March 2022


Members, abbreviations, and key terms we use to discuss leprosy.

GPZL Member Acronyms

ALM: American Leprosy Missions

FELEHANSEN: Federation of organisations of people affected by Hansen’s disease

IDEA: International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement

ILA: International Leprosy Association

ILEP: International Federation of Anti-Leprosy NGOs

LRI: Leprosy Research Initiative

MORHAN: Movimento de Reintegração das Pessoas Atingidas pela Hanseníase (Movement of Reintegration of Persons Afflicted by Hansen’s disease)

NLR: Netherlands Leprosy Relief

NNN: Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network

SHF: Sasakawa Health Foundation

TLM: The Leprosy Mission International

TLMTI: The Leprosy Mission Trust India

WHO: World Health Organisation

WHO GLP: World Health Organisation Global Leprosy Program


ADR: adverse drug reaction

CBR: community-based rehabilitation

G0D: grade-0 disability

G1D: grade-1 disability

G2D: grade-2 disability

IEC: information, education, communication

LPEP: Leprosy Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Programme

LT: GPZL’s Leadership Team

MB: multibacillary

MDA: mass drug administration

MDT: multidrug therapy

M. leprae: Mycobacterium leprae

NCDR: new case detection rate

NLP: National Leprosy Programme

NLPM: National Leprosy Programme Manager

NTD: neglected tropical disease

PB: paucibacillary

PEP: post-exposure prophylaxis

ROM: rifampicin, ofloxacin, minocycline

SHG: self-help group

SDR: single-dose rifampicin

Key Terms

bacillus: a rod-shaped bacterium

best practice: a recommended practice based on current evidence

blanket approach: a strategy where the entire population of a defined geographic area is provided with a prophylactic drug

case: a person undergoing treatment for leprosy

chemoprophylaxis: the use of a drug to prevent clinical disease in apparently healthy people

COLEP study: a randomized controlled trial conducted from 2002 to 2007 in Bangladesh that resulted in influential research on evidence for SDR-PEP

communicable disease: a contagious disease that is transmissible from person to person or from animal to person; leprosy is a communicable disease

community-based rehabilitation (CBR): community initiatives to enhance the quality of life in patients with disabilities

contact: a person living in proximity to a leprosy patient for a prolonged duration

  • household contact: a person in the same household as an index case
  • neighbor contact: a person living in close geographic proximity to an index case
  • social contact: a person with prolonged contact to, but who does not live with, an index case

contact approach: a strategy where only the patient’s household members and social contacts identified by contact tracing are provided with a prophylactic

contact management: the identification of people who have been exposed to an index case, counselling, provision of information on risk and early signs of leprosy, examination to exclude current disease, and provision of chemoprophylaxis where appropriate

contact tracing: the process of identifying and examining people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent transmission

counselling: the interaction between two individuals to solve the problem of one of the individuals; an ethical requirement in contact tracing and PEP implementation

country partner: a country that works with GPZL

dapsone hypersensitivity syndrome: a rare and serious adverse drug reaction (ADR) to the dapsone component of multi-drug therapy (MDT); experienced by about 1% of leprosy patients

disability: a social process that results from the interaction between persons with impairments and the attitudes and environmental barriers that prevent their equal participation in society

discrimination: an action, inaction, or behaviour resulting in negative, differential treatment of an individual or a group

elimination of leprosy as a public health problem: reduction in cases of a disease, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), to less than one case per 10,000 people across a larger population

eradication: zero incidences of infection within a defined geographic area; leprosy is not yet eradicated globally

Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy (GPZL, the Partnership): a coalition of people committed to ending leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease

grade-0 disability (G0D): disability characterized by no visible damage, no loss of protective sensation, and no eye problems

grade-1 disability (G1D): disability characterized by loss of protective sensation or eye problems; no visual impairment

grade-2 disability (G2D): disability characterized by visible damage or severe visual impairment

Hansen’s disease (HD): the medical term for leprosy, named after Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, the Norwegian doctor who discovered Mycobacterium leprae, which causes leprosy

healthcare: a system or industry that facilitates health care

health care: a provider’s efforts to maintain a patient’s physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing

hypopigmentation: pale or reddish skin patches that can be symptomatic of leprosy

incubation period: time elapsed between exposure to a pathogen and when symptoms first appear; the incubation period for leprosy is 2 to 10 years.

index case: the first documented patient in a disease epidemic within a household or population

immunoprophylaxis: protection against infectious diseases by producing active or passive immunity

Leadership Team (LT): the board that provides strategic direction, oversight and guidance for GPZL

leprosy (also, Hansen’s disease): a curable infection that affects the skin, eyes, nose, and peripheral nerves; it is caused by Mycobacterium leprae and transmitted via droplets through the nose and mouth of untreated patients

leprosy burden: the prevalence of the disease, 80% of which falls in three countries: India, Brazil, and Indonesia

Leprosy Post-exposure Prophylaxis (LPEP): a long-term study on operationalizing SDR-PEP conducted in 8 countries

mass drug administration (MDA): large-scale access to preventative medicine

member: an organization or individual affiliate who joins GPZL

multibacillary (MB): a classification of leprosy associated with multiple (more than five) skin lesions, nodules, plaques, thickened dermis, or skin infiltration

multi-drug therapy (MDT): a combination of three antibiotic drugs (dapsone, rifampicin, and clofazimine) recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) that effectively kills the pathogen and cures a leprosy patient

Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae): the bacterium that causes leprosy

National Leprosy Programme (NLP): an in-country leprosy programme that partners with GPZL

National Leprosy Programme Managers (NLPMs): the directors of in-country programmes that partner with GPZL

natural immunity: 95% of people do not contract leprosy if exposed due to natural immunity

neglected tropical diseases (NTDs): viral, parasitic, and bacterial communicable diseases prevalent in tropical and subtropical climates; NTDs disproportionately affect vulnerable communities

neuropathic pain: burning or shooting pain associated with nerve injury due to leprosy

non-communicable disease: a disease that is not transmissible directly from one person to another

paucibacillary (PB): a milder classification of leprosy characterized by a few skin lesions

person(s) affected by leprosy: individuals who experience leprosy directly or as family members, friends, and community members of people diagnosed with leprosy

post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP): Administration of drugs (e.g. rifampicin) or vaccines to prevent disease in a person after exposure to a leprosy patient

prophylaxis: administration of a drug or vaccine to prevent disease

PEP++ project: a study that is underway to test a regimen of multiple antibiotics and a longer duration of doses to further reduce the risk of contraction by close contacts, and to test blanket approaches

rifampicin: an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections

Secretariat: the staff that manages the Partnership’s daily operations, communications, and resource mobilization efforts; located a the Task Force for Global Health

self-help group (SHG) (also, self-care group): a community of persons affected who share strategies and tools for self-care and support one another’s commitment to physical and mental wellbeing

self-screening approach: a strategy where materials showing symptoms and signs are distributed for contacts to self-examine and report to a health facility

single-dose rifampicin (SDR): used as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for contacts of leprosy patients to prevent transmission

skin camp: a temporary, community-wide event that provides  examination and treatment of skin diseases

skin camp approach: a strategy where skin camps are organized in an endemic area to detect leprosy cases and treat skin diseases

special rapporteur: an independent expert working on behalf of the United Nations within the scope of a thematic mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council

stigma: labelling and discrimination against a person or group of people by marking them as socially unacceptable; a barrier to ending transmission

toolkit: practical resources and best practices for programme managers

working group: a small team of researchers, persons affected, and programmatic experts that leads action to protect leprosy prevention and control gains, to support persons affected, and to set a path toward zero leprosy

Working Group: the title of a specific working group (e.g., Emergency Advocacy Working Group)

Zero Leprosy Country Model: country-led customized strategies that address local needs and priorities to end leprosy executed by National Leprosy Programmes, GPZL’s in-country partners, and international stakeholders

Zero Leprosy Toolkit: a set of field-tested best practices designed to support countries in their work towards ending leprosy and its associated disabilities and stigma