14 January 2022 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

GPZL convenes researchers for Stigma and Mental Wellbeing Workshop

The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy (GPZL) aims to accelerate research that contributes to global progress toward zero leprosy. After the publication of the Zero Leprosy Research Agenda in 2019, GPZL prioritized the agenda, gathering input from the leprosy research community to identify critical but neglected areas of leprosy research. A plan was developed to explore the top three priority topics in a series of three research workshops. In these workshops, GPZL convenes researchers to define specific research questions that will drive forward progress in these key areas. The first workshop was held in September on the topic of early diagnosis of leprosy
In December GPZL hosted the second of these research workshops on the topic of stigma and mental wellbeing. This workshop brought together researchers with experience studying mental health and the impacts of stigma on persons affected and communities. Representatives from NGOs, academic institutions, national leprosy programmes, the private sector, and organizations of persons affected by leprosy joined the workshop. Participants represented a wide range of countries, with about half of the participants joining from highly endemic countries.

Attendees split into two subgroups: one for stigma and another for mental wellbeing. The subgroups developed concept notes that identified research questions and designed a study to answer these questions. These concept notes can be used to develop research projects that can be adapted based on context-specific settings and funder requirements. After the finalization of the concept notes, they will be taken to discussions with various funders and worked into submissions to open calls for proposals.

The next workshop will take place in early 2022 and will explore the diagnosis and treatment of nerve function impairment and reactions.