- What: Novartis is undertaking a range of innovative, research-based projects to build local capacity to effectively trace, diagnose and treat leprosy patients.
- Objective: The projects support Novartis’ long-term commitment to treatment and control of leprosy worldwide.
- Scope: The geographic scope of these projects includes: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
- Details: Examples of activities include training health workers on contact tracing and leprosy diagnosis.
Novartis is testing new programmes for improving leprosy diagnosis. Here, a doctor tests the skin sensitivity of a boy who has been treated for the disease in Ifakara, Tanzania.
Novartis is undertaking a range of innovative, research-based projects to build local capacity to effectively trace, diagnose and treat leprosy patients, mainly in south-east Asia.
Three notable examples are:
- Testing the feasibility, impact and cost implications of contact tracing and preventive treatment with rifampicin (post-exposure prophylaxis), and subsequently developing guidelines for contact management. This project was carried out in India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. It was launched in 2015, and will run for approximately three years until 2018.
- Providing training and education for health care workers to support retrospective contact tracing, where patient numbers are low, through cycles of district-level “drives” in Cambodia. This project was launched in 2012, and ongoing in 2016.
- Testing a mobile health tool to support health care workers in the Philippines to diagnose leprosy, by sending images of suspected leprosy lesions to a specialist, and enabling earlier treatment. This project was launched in 2013, expanded in 2014, and is ongoing in 2016.
Each programme involves partnerships with different, locally-relevant stakeholders, such as national leprosy control programmes.
While some companies have implemented or supported innovative interventions aiming to build evidence regarding specific disease areas, the examples provided demonstrate Novartis’ more comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to building skills and capacities needed to effectively address leprosy through different strategies.