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PROJECTS - Disability Prevention

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that affects both nerves and skin. Involvement of nerves and its damage leads to disabilities. One can prevent disabilities in leprosy through early diagnosis and complete treatment and timely management of nerve damage through medication, rest and physiotherapy.

Disability Prevention and Medical Rehabilitation (DPMR) is a renewed strategy approach to manage persons affected by leprosy through general health system in an integrated health programme. The identified strategy was not implemented adequately due to lack priority and non availability of expertise in the general health system.

Damien Foundation is supporting Govt in implementing DPMR activities in 52 districts (7 states) through its trained staff.

Early Diagnosis

Damien Foundation has been involved in providing referral services for the diagnosis, treatment and management of complications through 14 referral hospitals. Damien Foundation is facilitating early case detection through the engagement of civil society organisations in disseminating message in the community on early signs of leprosy and encourages patients to complete full course of treatment. Besides this Damien Foundation also facilitates an effective management of nerve damage to prevent disabilities.

Self Care Practice

A small proportion of persons affected by leprosy develop lack of sensation and sweating in their hands and feet. Such persons may develop wounds in their hands and feet due to dryness and injuries. They need to practice self care every day to prevent worsening of disabilities and further damage of tissues. Self care is a simple procedure which includes soaking, cleaning, application of oil to prevent dryness and dressing. They should also practice physiotherapy everyday to prevent stiffness of joints. It is very important to counsel persons affected by leprosy to practice self care regularly for lifetime to prevent occurrence of wounds and also avoid the stiffness of joints in hands and feet.

Damien Foundation is facilitating self care practice through training of health workers, community volunteers and family members. Around 28000 persons affected by leprosy with disabilities are living in 52 districts supported for DPMR programme.

Medical Rehabilitation (Reconstructive Surgery)

All types of deformities in leprosy can be corrected through surgery at early stages and physiotherapy which involves Re-education by exercises, Splinting etc. The Occupational therapist trains the patients to use their limbs effectively and safely in their day-to-day life.

Reconstructive surgery facilities are available in 9 hospitals spread over in 7 states. Patients eligible for surgery are selected and motivated by the team and also by general health staff. DFIT has five experienced surgeons who perform the surgery in all nine hospitals on a regular basis and also through camp approach. Average 35 to 40 surgeries are performed by each DFIT hospitals every year.