About the Zero Leprosy Toolkit

The Zero Leprosy Toolkit is a free set of field-tested best practices designed to support countries in their work towards ending leprosy and its associated disabilities and stigma.

From 2018 to 2019, the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy’s Operational Excellence Working Group developed an inventory of best practices and innovations to support needs, opportunities, and challenges identified by the leprosy community. The working group members continue to provide technical advice as needed when questions arise about the implementation of the online tools.

Some tools are scientific evidence-based, while others are practice-based because of the valuable contribution they’ve made to programmes. The tools were collected and reviewed under leadership of the national leprosy programme managers and partners for their relevance for the larger leprosy community. This toolkit is part of the Zero Leprosy Country Model.

Questions

If you have a question about a best practice or tool, members of our Operational Excellence working group and those who have helped to develop the tools, can help. Please submit questions to the Toolkit Help Desk.

About Leprosy

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is caused by Mycobacterium leprae and transmitted via droplets through the nose and mouth of untreated patients. After infection, it can take up to 20 years before symptoms begin to appear.

Since 1981, more than 16 million leprosy patients have been treated with multidrug therapy (MDT), donated at first by The Nippon Foundation, and since 2000 by Novartis, through the World Health Organization. This has reduced the global number of people being treated for M. leprae infection by 99%. However, the number of people newly diagnosed with leprosy has plateaued at more than 200,000 per year for over a decade. The majority of new leprosy cases occur in India, Brazil and Indonesia where diagnosis is often delayed by limited access to health services or fear of stigma and discrimination.

This has a significant impact on both individuals and society, often forcing people to abandon their profession, lose their source of income and limit access to health services and social entitlements.