The mission of the Pacific Leprosy Foundation is “The eradication of leprosy and the continued care of patients and their families with disability, or social and economic disadvantage due to leprosy in New Zealand and the Pacific.”
This means that leprosy control is at the forefront of all our work, it is the major factor in our planning. To control the spread of leprosy, and therefore eradicate it, needs a well structured plan and hard work with meticulous attention to detail to carry it through – and it is not a job which can be carried out alone. This work needs team co-operation and integration with other health services in order for the work to be carried out most efficiently.
We run awareness raising programmes in many countries to educate individuals, families and communities about the facts, signs and symptoms of the disease. Many of these programmes are based around World Leprosy Day – the last Sunday in January each year.
We also train our field supervisors, local health workers, doctors, and nurses about leprosy so they can identify cases and arrange for treatment as quickly as possible.
Most new cases of leprosy are as result of close contact with a friend or family member who was suffering from leprosy. For that reason it is vital that contacts of all new cases are examined immediately for signs of leprosy – and that they continue to be examined regularly for at least five years to be sure that they are free from the disease. This is painstaking, time-consuming work but is a vital step in the control of leprosy.