Treatment of Leprosy
Leprosy is completely curable with a course of antibiotics called multidrug therapy. It’s taken by the patient for one year (but can be taken longer in severe cases). In most cases, patients can no longer transmit the disease after their first dose. In the absence of a vaccine, multidrug therapy is the single most powerful weapon we have against leprosy. There’s great urgency in curing people affected by leprosy with multidrug therapy. It can restore sensation to damaged skin if taken in time. Every delay to the cure risks permanent impairment.
Self Care Training
Once someone develops a chronic condition (such as a loss of sensation) because of leprosy, they need to take regular care in all activities of daily living and work. Within a Self-Care Group, participants are taught a daily routine of inspecting their bodies for signs of injury or infection, treatments for different injuries, physiotherapy exercises to prevent joint stiffness, and instructions in soaking and oiling their skin to prevent dryness.
Physiotherapy and Surgery
Physiotherapy can help prevent permanent disability and restore some function to people affected by leprosy. Others may require reconstructive surgery to correct deformities in the hands and feet, reconstruct noses and other damaged features and preserve eyesight for those who can no longer open and close their eyes. Surgery not only returns functionality to hands, feet, and eyes, but it can help restore a person’s appearance and their psychological and social health. After surgery, patients must also relearn how to use their muscles and build up their strength, or be taught how to manage assistive devices.