The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the whole world, affecting the economy of many societies, increasing poverty and inequalities. The lockdown measures heavily affected vulnerable social groups, including persons affected by Hansen’s disease (PaHd) and their families. Stigma, late diagnosis and related disability make PaHd a population in a situation of vulnerability. Poor sanitary and socio-economic conditions, lower levels of education and food insecurity are risk markers for Hansen’s disease.
Before COVID-19, PaHd were refused employment or lost their jobs due to physical impairment or discrimination. Job losses worldwide are hitting hardest on poor and vulnerable populations, therefore pushing millions of people to extreme poverty.
Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, is only endemic in the poorest areas of the world. Although specific data regarding PaHd are scarce, we traced a parallel between the impact of the current pandemic on the labour market on various excluded and marginalized populations, such as persons with disabilities and PaHd. Our objective was to understand the current scenario and also to gather strategies and good practices to guarantee and promote the right to work as an instrument of inclusion and social advancement, to break the cycle of poverty for PaHd.