British Leprosy Relief Association
Five Year Leprosy Research Strategy Approved by ILEP Board October 2011 Coordinator: Prof. WCS Smith
A Research Strategy to Develop New Tools to Prevent Leprosy, Improve Patient Care and Reduce the Consequences of Leprosy
The Global Leprosy Programme has had a dramatic impact on the prevalence of registered cases of leprosy over the last 20 years through the implementation of short course multi-drug therapy (MDT) treatment. However, further advances in the field of leprosy are hindered by the lack of new tools to address the challenge of apparent persistence in transmission and incidence, and the long-term consequences of the disease.
This strategy was developed by the Technical Commission of ILEP to provide a framework to prioritise research, to identify the steps needed to develop and implement new tools, and to identify funding gaps. The strategy focuses on applied research, either technology transfer or research to evaluate effectiveness of interventions where there is already proof of principle. More basic research and proof of principle are important but are outside the scope of this five year strategy.
The strategy is composed of eight themes, but research in these themes should be fully integrated mainly through the use of common field sites. The integration of research with other Neglected Tropical Diseases and diseases of poverty, and multidisciplinary approaches are strongly advocated. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6 targets the reduction in the burden of disease but tackling poverty (MDG1), education (MDG2), gender equality (MDG3), child health (MDG4), maternal health (MDG5) and partnerships (MDG8) are all important for leprosy.
This strategy is based on the achievement of deliverables within five years at an estimated cost of £24 million. A number of the projects are already in progress, some are developed and requiring funding, while other areas are gaps representing urgent priorities. The key components are presented in the table: