22 November 2022 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

GPZL at the 21st International Leprosy Congress

The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy participated in the International Leprosy Congress, which took place in Hyderabad, India from 8 to 11 November. The theme of the Congress was “Better Knowledge – Early Diagnosis – Improved Care.” GPZL co-hosted a plenary and was involved in several additional sessions throughout the week. 

Plenary: Money Matters

In partnership with the Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI), GPZL hosted the plenary session, “Money matters: Priorities in funding leprosy research.” The aim of the session was to provide a transparent look at the funding landscape for leprosy research and to start conversations about the next steps in leprosy research financing.

Leaders from several organizations that support leprosy research participated in the session: Dr. Suzan Trienekens of LRI, Linda Hummel of NLR, Takahiro Nanri of Sasakawa Health Foundation, Stefanie Weiland of American Leprosy Missions, Anna Giné of Anesvad Foundation, and Bill Simmons, the chair of our Leadership Team. Subhojit Goswami of The Leprosy Mission Trust India facilitated the session. The participants shared how much funding they allocate to leprosy research, as well as their priority areas from the past five years.

The audience also participated in polls during the plenary. About 40% of respondents said they had applied for leprosy research funding within the last five years. Out of this group, respondents shared that LRI was the main organization that funded their research over the last five years. Other funders mentioned included Novartis, American Leprosy Missions, The Leprosy Mission, NLR, GLRA, CPR-NTD, ICMR, governments, universities, and more.

Modeling for Leprosy Control

Mondie Tharp, program manager at GPZL, presented the Zero Leprosy Country Model during the epidemiology session on modeling for leprosy control. She offered an overview of the components of the Country Model and what it offers to national leprosy programs. Mondie also shared how the Country Model integrates with the WHO Global Leprosy Strategy and WHO Roadmap for Neglected Tropical Diseases. She updated the audience on the development of the self-guided Country Model, which will be piloted in the coming year. 

Leprosy Diagnostic TPPs

Dr. Sundeep Chaitanya, a co-chair of our Diagnostics Working Group, presented during a thematic session on early diagnosis. He presented the first leprosy diagnostic target product profile that the working group developed. The TPP describes a diagnostic test to detect Mycobacterium leprae infection among asymptomatic household and familial contacts of leprosy patients, treat them with appropriate prophylactic interventions and prevent the occurrence of overt clinical leprosy. 

Dr. Petra Kukkaro, the other co-chair of our Diagnostics Working Group, also presented during a thematic session on early diagnosis. She presented the second leprosy diagnostic target product profile (TPP) that the working group developed. The TPP describes a diagnostic test to confirm leprosy in individuals with clinical signs and symptoms.

Connect with GPZL

We enjoyed meeting with so many members of the leprosy community at ILC this year. Thank you for stopping by our booth and connecting with our team. If you missed us at the conference, you can get in touch with us here