Leprosy: An ancient disease which still affects thousands of Muslims today

· Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with leprosy each year and it’s cured with multi-drug-therapy.

· More specifically, 3,976 people were diagnosed with leprosy in 2015/16 in Bangladesh (where Islam is one of the largest religions where 90% of the population are Muslim) and Lepra assisted with 1,523 of this diagnosis and treatment.

· Because of the declaration of “elimination” (fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 population) in 2000, there has been a decrease in allocation of funds for the national programme and leprosy has lost its place as an important infectious disease.

· Because of this lack of focus, The World Health Organisation states that 3 million people live with undiagnosed leprosy and 4 million people live with disabilities caused by this disease worldwide, as many do not recognise their symptoms.

· Lepra, the UK-based international charity is working to raise awareness of leprosy so that people come forward for diagnosis sooner before disability develops.

· Disability caused by leprosy prevents many from earning a livelihood and as a result often spiral into poverty. The combination of people living below the poverty line and in extreme poverty stands at 25% of the population.

· Lepra offers self-care to people living with leprosy, which is where people learn to care for their affected limbs and to reduce ulceration.

· This increased level of care helps people to care for their disabilities and helps them to retain their livelihood and escape poverty.

· 4,514 people in Bangladesh received self-care training by Lepra in 2015/16.

· Lepra are asking people to make a donation this Ramadan to help more people living in poverty because of leprosy in Bangladesh.

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