27 March 2019 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

Thank you to Dr. David Addiss: Key Adviser to the Partnership

Dr. David Addiss has been an essential part of the formation of the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy and a key adviser. We thank him for his counsel and contributions this month as he moves on to a new project at the Task Force for Global Health.

Dr. David Addiss has been instrumental in the formation of the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy.

He came to the project from a background in global health, serving as the director of Children Without Worms at the Task Force for Global Health, and from a research background, investigating questions about the role of compassion in global health. Because of his experience in both global health and in dealing with questions of ethics in the field, when the Novartis Foundation asked the Task Force to help them understand if the leprosy community was ready for a new partnership in 2017, David was well suited to take on this challenge.

And for David, working with the leprosy community was a perfect place to continue to ask questions about compassion and its role in global health.

“The leprosy community brings many gifts to the field of Neglected Tropical Diseases, including a keen awareness of stigma, the strong and vital involvement of persons affected, and an insistence on human rights. The theme of compassion – the desire to alleviate and prevent of suffering – gets played out in leprosy again and again.”

– Dr. David Addiss

Over several months, David and his team interviewed members of the leprosy community through in-person interviews, phone calls, and an extensive online survey. They came to a conclusion- it was clear that there was a need and a desire for a global partnership for leprosy. A committee was assembled to create a structure for the partnership and a leadership team, and the secretariat was established at the Task Force for Global Health, officially launching in January 2018. Since the establishment of the secretariat, David has served as adviser to the partnership, offering guidance on technical issues and the creation of a research agenda.

As to the future of the partnership, David hopes that the partnership will continue to bring together the leprosy community in a spirit of collaboration to work toward the common goal of zero leprosy.

“The journey is one that’s quite rich, and there will be huge gifts along the way. Leprosy’s already provided a lot of leadership and guidance to the global health community around human rights, celebrating compassion, and reducing stigma. Are we gonna get there [to zero leprosy] in 30 years, or 50 years? We don’t know. But we’re setting out with determination and with each other to figure this out.”

– Dr. David Addiss

You can learn more about David’s work on the role of compassion in global health with the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics (FACE) program at the Task Force for Global Health.

Written by Andie Tucker, Communications Specialist, Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy