December 2018
Each month, we share our progress, next steps, and profiles of the people involved in the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy.
The steering team smiles after two days of intense planning
Operational Excellence steering team prepares for take-off
National leprosy programme managers leading the effort

Managers from national leprosy programmes, along with representatives from ILEP organizations, are directing the upcoming initiatives of the Operational Excellence working group. They travelled from Benin, Brazil, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom to participate in the inaugural Operational Excellence meeting, held 6-7 December in Amsterdam. This team of dedicated leaders, also referred to as the steering team, will lead five sub-groups . The aim of the meeting was to discuss, develop and agree on the objectives, structure and the activity plan for 2019.

The steering team discussed the many tasks ahead. The group will develop online tools that can help countries reduce leprosy and stigma, and will also offer support through a help desk. Working closely with the World Health Organization, this working group will also conduct peer-to-peer country assessments , and help countries develop visioning roadmaps to zero leprosy

Join today! The call for participants is open until 31 December. The partnership welcomes anyone who works in or is affected by leprosy to join the working group. Working together, we will build a learning community and accelerate progress towards ending leprosy.

Research Agenda available in early 2019
Sub-groups from the Research Agenda Working Group have submitted reports which are being consolidated and synthesized into a cohesive document. After reviews and editing, the research agenda will be available in early 2019. A summary will also be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

This research agenda represents a coordinated approach to identifying gaps and research priorities. It is an important first step in aligning research priorities for zero leprosy. Initial planning is underway to describe other key activities for advancing the research agenda in 2019, including: advocating for funding, facilitating communication, driving progress on specific content areas, submitting research proposals, and developing standards and best practices. Stay tuned for updates.
News: Novartis Foundation and Microsoft partner to develop AI-enabled digital health tool for early leprosy detection

Novartis Foundation and Microsoft are partnering to develop a proof-of-concept artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled digital health tool and a Leprosy Intelligent Image Atlas to aid in the early detection of leprosy.

As part of the collaboration, Microsoft and the Novartis Foundation will work with local investigators from Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Brazil to develop a protocol to examine anonymized images collected by Fiocruz. This will include a high-resolution image and metadata capture protocol to process the leprosy skin lesion images. The imagery and AI code will be publicly accessible at a later stage. Read more
Championing a cause long-forgotten
This month we feature an initiative developed by The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI), an affiliate of The Leprosy Mission International

Photo credit-TLMTI
TLMTI brought together 35 Champions from six states in India for a national meeting  #ChampionsForZeroLeprosy , held 26-28 November in New Delhi, where they shared their achievements, challenges, and learning.

TLMTI has a network of over 420 Champions, who are persons affected by leprosy across India. The Champions are in the forefront in the fight against leprosy. They are part of a movement to eradicate leprosy from India, end stigma, promote inclusion and repeal laws discriminating against people affected by leprosy.

At the end of the meeting, the Champions chalked out their future course of action for ending stigma and promoting social inclusion. They also drew up a plan to advocate for repealing laws discriminating against people affected by leprosy. Learn more about the initiative and TLMTI.
Call for Submission from the UN Special Rapporteur

Alice Cruz, UN Special Rapporteur and leadership team member (observer), is dedicating her next thematic report to the situation of women and children affected by leprosy and their family members with focus on stigma and discrimination. This report is due to be presented at the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in June 2019.

To inform the report, Alice is seeking the confidential views and inputs of Members and observer States, National Human Rights Institutions, United Nations agencies, international and regional organizations, and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders. 

Complete the online questionnaire by 31 December:
Working together towards zero leprosy: join the partnership
Membership is open to all who are committed to zero leprosy and the partnership principles. See the current list of partnership members.

Global Partnership for Zero Leproy | www.zeroleprosy.org