Photos: Looking back on a year
22 January, 2019 | Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy
The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy officially began in January 2018, just before World Leprosy Day. In one year, we’ve grown to over 400 members, launched two working groups, and have begun the work of creating a research agenda for zero leprosy and tools to support the work in countries. Our anniversary slideshow looks back on a year of seeing diverse people and places across the global leprosy community.
Partnership launches: Friday, 26 January 2018
The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy officially began just before World Leprosy Day 2018. Leading up to the launch, a steering committee held several meetings to determine the priorities and structure of a global collaborative group. The founding partners included IDEA, ILEP, ILA, Novartis Foundation, Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation, national leprosy programmes, and WHO as an observer. The secretariat team was formed at the Task Force for Global Health.
Leadership team meets in Colchester UK, March 2018
During the team’s first in-person meeting at Lepra’s headquarters in Colchester, the group finalized its charter and conducted strategic planning sessions to define the partnership’s principles, objectives, procedures and processes for new members. It was an opportunity for the group to voice diverse perspectives on issues ranging from research innovations to the impact of stigma and discrimination.
Lessons from the field: Bihar, India June 2018
Secretariat Director Courtenay Dusenbury traveled to Bihar, India, where she met persons affected by leprosy, clinicians, community health workers, government officials and ILEP team members who had dedicated their lives to ending the disease. Working long hours in sometimes difficult conditions, these committed professionals are making headway in one of the world’s most challenging environments. The expertise of local partners will be major contributors to the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy’s work.
Inaugural research meeting, August 2018
Our first working group is launched in a historic meeting in Basel, Switzerland, hosted by the Novartis Foundation. Facilitators and advisors of the Research Agenda Working Group met to begin steps for developing a research agenda to achieve zero leprosy. An open call went out and the group grew to 144 members from all over the world. The research agenda aligns priorities for current and potential future innovations in diagnostics, strategies, and interventions to contribute to zero leprosy. The agenda will be available in early 2019.
Leaders come together to transform action towards zero leprosy
Leadership team members came together for the second in-person meeting in early October, hosted by the Damien Foundation in Brussels. The team discussed the action needed to move towards zero leprosy. Many leaders and partners agreed to structure and align their organization’s work around the partnership. They also jointly agreed on an Action Framework, which describes the partnership’s goals through 2025.
Meeting Princess Astrid of Belgium
During our Brussels visit, partnership members were honored to meet Princess Astrid of Belgium, to discuss our work and give more visibility to the partnership. Many thanks to Damien Foundation and ILEP for hosting the event. (Photo credit: Björn Comhaire for Damien Foundation)
Sri Lanka visit, October 2018
Courtenay Dusenbury and Christine Fenenga of the secretariat team traveled to the Galle District of Sri Lanka in late October. They visited one of Sri Lanka’s satellite dermatology clinics hosted by the Udugama Hospital. As part of an effort developed by the national leprosy control program and funded by the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation, a consulting dermatologist holds office hours at the clinic each month. The patients they see have been referred by local health care providers or healers, who in turn have been trained by the national leprosy program to identify suspected cases.
Operational Excellence steering team meeting, December
Managers from national leprosy programmes, along with representatives from ILEP organizations, are directing the upcoming initiatives of the Operational Excellence working group. They travelled from afar to participate in the inaugural Operational Excellence meeting, held 6-7 December in Amsterdam. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the activities for 2019, including: online tools that can help countries reduce leprosy and stigma, peer-to-peer country assessments, visioning roadmaps to zero leprosy for countries. An open call resulted in 181 participants for this working group!
Looking ahead: A country-based strategy
Along with our research agenda, a major priority for 2019 and beyond is to work closely with WHO and country programmes to accelerate progress towards ending leprosy and stigma. The partnership’s country-based model will bring new capacities, funding and hope to national leprosy programmes and share best practices among them. (Photo credit: The Leprosy Mission Trust India)