Leprosy elimination

Partners and donors

Successful elimination efforts with support of national programmes, partners, donors and nongovernmental organizations resulted in eliminating leprosy as public health problem in the year 20001.

The challenge today as highlighted in the ‘Global Leprosy Strategy 2016-2020’ is to reach all patients and detect ‘hidden cases’ often in remote villages and areas and curb transmission of the infection.

WHO’s main operational partners are national programmes in countries where leprosy is endemic. This partnership reflects the mandate given to the Organization by its Member States in 1991, when the Forty-fourth World Health Assembly resolved to eliminate leprosy as a public health problem. Through continued support from partners and medicine donation from Novartis, WHO coordinates the supply of Multi-Drug Therapy to countries.

The Nippon Foundation and Novartis have donated generously to fund the supply and shipment of MDT and manage key operational activities within WHO relating to the elimination of leprosy. Availability of free drugs has been instrumental in sustaining leprosy programmes in many countries across the world. Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation supported special initiatives to improve early case detection and treatment compliance in high endemic countries through Bangkok Declaration Special Fund.

The Organization also collaborates closely with international and national NGOs and networks of persons affected by leprosy working in partnership with national programmes and partners to provide MDT free of charge.


1 A prevalence less than 1 case per 10 000 persons was achieved globally.