The Leprosy Mission in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea is focusing on the development of agricultural and sustainable livelihoods initiatives for people in 50 communities affected by leprosy and disability across Papua New Guinea.

Some key achievements of The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea over the last year include:

• 5 new leprosy cases diagnosed

• 44 health workers training in leprosy diagnosis and management

• 204 people reached with health promotion (including leprosy awareness) activities

• 3 Community Facilitators trained in small business development to support people affected by leprosy and disability in becoming economically independent.

Project Outcome: Training for Community Facilitators 

44 Community Facilitators from 22 communities, with 1 female and 1 male Community Facilitator from each community, received training on their roles, visioning for their communities and leprosy awareness as well as a brief introduction to the livelihoods development and micro-credit activities. The training helped to raise awareness and build strategic relationships among community leaders and key  stakeholders.

Last year 5 leprosy affected Community Facilitators began to educate people on leprosy and its effect on people and communities as part of the project’s awareness raising activities.

These Community Facilitators have become role models for the other Community Facilitators.  The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea staff trained 44 Community Facilitators at a cost of 148.43 Kina / $59.59 AUD per person.

Project Outcome: Awareness Raising

16 leprosy awareness activities were conducted on “What is leprosy”.  This involved displaying pictures about different aspects of leprosy to the community and explaining them simply. The response to these activities indicated that amongst the communities there has been a prevalence of fear and lack of knowledge about leprosy.   The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea staff have distributed awareness raising resources in one centre in Port Moresby.

Support for The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea last year enabled staff to reach 204 people at a cost of 14.77 Kina / $5.93 AUD per person in order to undertake health promotion activities in remote and difficult-to-reach communities.

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The Leprosy Mission in Papua New Guinea

The Leprosy Mission’s involvement in Papua New Guinea began in the mid 1960s. Twenty years later the emphasis evolved from a purely medical, hospital-based perspective to a new focus of training health staff in leprosy health awareness and setting up field control programs.

The Leprosy Mission has helped reduce the medical, social and economic burden of leprosy. It provided medical treatment to people affected by leprosy and helped improve the detection and management of new cases (which also limits the spread of the disease). The Leprosy Mission also provided opportunities for people affected by leprosy to gain paid employment and exercise their rights as citizens.

The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea has successfully secured five years of institutional funding from the New Zealand government (MFAT) for a replacement project called the Sustainable Livelihoods Development (SLD) project which commenced in 2017. This project has more of a community development focus, training local communities affected by leprosy on income-generating activities as well improved health awareness and practices regarding the disease.

The needs of people affected by leprosy in Papua New Guinea are great.

The prevalence of registered leprosy cases has increased from  381 in 2014 to at least 658 in 2015, with another 388 new cases diagnosed. This is a great concern.

Country Leader for The Leprosy Mission Papua New Guinea, Natalie Smith, says this increase is because a pool of cases have remained undetected for almost ten years.

Your support has helped detect these cases. Thank you!

Now, more than ever, we need to continue supporting people affected by leprosy in Papua New Guinea. Your support helps makes sure that cases are found and that people affected by leprosy can secure a sustainable income in remote regions.

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