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