In October 2022, the National Leprosy Programme of Nigeria, led by Adebayo Peters and Dr Anyaike Chukwuma, hosted workshops in Abuja to develop a Zero Leprosy Roadmap and Action Plan. Partners convened to outline strategies to bring the country closer to targets set forth by the WHO Road Map for Neglected Tropical Diseases 2021 – 2030 and the WHO Global Leprosy Strategy. They then identified and prioritized specific activities that would allow them to achieve these targets.
Nigeria is a 2020 country partner of the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy (GPZL). The programme began implementing the Zero Leprosy Country Model in October with the Zero Leprosy Country Review. Partners who contributed to the roadmap and action plan development include the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, the Ministry of Health, WHO Nigeria, IDEA Nigeria, The Leprosy Mission Nigeria, American Leprosy Missions Africa Office, German Leprosy Relief Association (GLRA), Damien Foundation, NLR, LTR Nigeria, St. Francis Leprosy Guild.
Nigeria’s Zero Leprosy Roadmap targets include establishing regional partnerships for zero leprosy, increasing domestic resource mobilization, reactivating and decentralizing leprosy capacity building in states, increasing contact screening and preventive chemotherapy, and increasing case-finding programmes. Additionally, the country prioritizes early case detection and training, increasing referral services for persons affected, and determining a baseline for stigma and social participation.
The country’s Zero Leprosy Action Plan activities prioritize the formation of state-level zero leprosy advocacy groups and the sensitization of the zero leprosy roadmaps with local leaders to increase buy-in at the local level. The Action Plan also prioritizes re-training of state and local staff and focal officers, as well as implementing a system to test for possible drug resistance. Lastly, the action plan prioritizes activities focused on leprosy detection and chemoprophylaxis, including the identification of hotspots and educational campaigns.
With the development of the Zero Leprosy Roadmap and Action Plan, the National Leprosy Programme of Nigeria is one step closer to disease elimination. The programme aims to finalize the Action Plan, have it endorsed by the Ministry of Health, and implement it nationwide.