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WORKSHOP: Advancing Leprosy elimination in Tanzania

Feb. 23, 2024 9:00
WORKSHOP: Advancing Leprosy elimination in Tanzania
Group photo of the workshop participants. Credit: IFAKARA Communications

From 20 - 23 February 2024, Ifakara Health Institute hosted national partners to its Dar es Salaam branch to learn more about the "Demonstration of Interruption of Transmission of M. Leprae" project. 

Building upon successful initiatives in Tanzania, such as the collaborative Leprosy Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (LPEP) Program, which involved coordinated efforts from the Ministry of Health and various national and international partners, an introductory meeting was organized. 

The goal was to hear from experts from the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program (NTLP) to better understand how the project can support the ongoing Leprosy program and effectively achieve the objectives outlined in the Tanzania Leprosy Roadmap 2023-2030.

The workshop participants included various organizations, including the members of IHI, Ministry of Health, Novartis, Swiss TPH, and regional medical teams. Notable attendees included Dr. Riziki Kisonga from the Ministry of Health's National Leprosy Control Program (NTLP) and Dr. Sunil Modali, Director of Global Medical Affairs at Novartis.

Understanding the Leprosy roadmap and current activities

Subsequent sessions delved into understanding the Tanzania Leprosy Roadmap for the period between 2024 and 2030. Participants engaged in open discussions to comprehend current and future activities of the NTLP and identify gaps that the project could address. A full picture of ongoing projects and activities was painted to align project initiatives with existing strategies effectively.

Identifying support Areas and defining next steps

Through in-depth discussions, participants pinpointed existing gaps and formulated strategies to align project activities with World Health Organisation frameworks and national roadmaps.

As the project progresses, continued collaboration and concerted efforts will be paramount to achieving the ultimate goal of interrupting M. leprae transmission and ensuring a leprosy-free future for generations to come.

What is TB and Leprosy?

TB and leprosy are both chronic infections, according to the World Health Organization TB is caused by bacteria “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” and it most often affects the lungs. TB is spread through the air when people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit. A person needs to inhale only a few germs to become infected. Learn more about TB here.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease which is caused by a type of bacteria called “Mycobacterium leprae.” It is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) which still occurs in more than 120 countries, with more than 200 000 new cases reported every year. Learn more about leprosy here