17 December 2021 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

Nepal develops Zero Leprosy Action Plan 

The National Leprosy Programme of Nepal convened stakeholders and in-country partners of the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy (GPZL) in Kathmandu in November. The meeting attendees developed an action plan with specific leprosy activities and budgets needed to end leprosy in the country by 2030. 
The National Leprosy Programme’s work in partnership with GPZL began in 2019 with the review of the country’s leprosy activities. Following the review, leprosy community members and local and international experts met in Kathmandu to design a Zero Leprosy Roadmap for Nepal. Action planning was the next step in the Zero Leprosy Country Model, a set of country-led customized strategies that address local needs and priorities to end leprosy. The action planning process was led by Nepal’s National Leprosy Programme Manager, Dr Rabindra Baskota.

National ownership of Nepal’s Zero Leprosy Roadmap and the need for political commitment informed the development of the action plan. Priority actions in the action plan suggest the introduction of cost-effective and accessible means for ensuring treatment completion, early identification, and timely management and referral of impending disabilities through telecommunications to reduce grade-2 disability. Activities to combat stigma and ensure human rights are also priorities in the action plan.

The final activities include capacity building of health workers, data management, surveillance, research, and innovations. The action plan emphasizes the need for active case-finding approaches such as contact tracing, implementation of single-dose rifampicin as a measure of chemoprophylaxis, and focal campaigns. The action plan also outlines activities to ensure management of leprosy complications and prevent new disability through early detection, access to referral facilities, and management of neuritis, reactions, and impending physical and mental disabilities.

GPZL congratulates the National Leprosy Programme of Nepal for taking this next step toward ending leprosy in the country. We look forward to our continued partnership.