There are many unanswered questions in the field of leprosy, from the mechanism of transmission, to the reasons why some people get severe nerve damage despite good treatment, to the best ways to reduce the stigma of leprosy in a community. Because of the cost of research and the scarcity of other resources needed (in particular, skilled staff and the appropriate patients and settings for a worthwhile clinical study) it makes sense to collaborate with others to support the best projects. TLM has very good access to people with leprosy, through its various institutions, and this makes it a valued partner in many research projects.
The Leprosy Mission operates highly-rated leprosy research laboratories in India and Nepal in collaboration with international researchers. A number of TLM hospitals are world class centres of leprosy research, with research projects to develop and improve leprosy diagnosis and treatment. Increasingly, TLM incorporates research questions and outcomes into its public health and community-based projects. This research aims to enlarge the current knowledge base enabling evidence based policy making decisions by organisations and governments involved in leprosy services.
The Leprosy Research Initiative
In partnership with several other members of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP), TLM is part of the Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI), through which funds for research are pooled, providing a much larger fund for high priority projects. This means that TLM is part of a larger research community and researchers within TLM have the possibility of accessing more secure funding. This has resulted in a more focused approach to the most important research questions in leprosy.
You can read more about The Leprosy Mission's research involvement in the recently published booklet 'Unfinished Business', available below for download.