Spread over 13,000 islands (only half of them occupied) and with hundreds of different ethnic and language groups, Indonesia is the world’s fourth biggest country by population. The cultural diversity leads to a remarkable range of architectural styles, art, dance, cuisine and religious expression. More Muslim people live in Indonesia than in any other country, but it is a pluralist country with six religions officially recognised.
Indonesia sees the third highest number of new leprosy cases each year, after India and Brazil. There are more than 15,000 new cases a year – little changed from ten years ago – and leprosy continues to be one of the major causes of preventable disability. TLM has a long history of involvement in leprosy services through the placement of expatriate staff in high-leprosy provinces such as West Papua, South Sulawesi, West and Central Java, East Nusa Tenggara and North Sumatra.
The Leprosy Mission New Zealand will be starting a new project, in partnership with other international and local organisations, in the district of Indramayu, one of the poorest districts in the province of West Java. This project aims to accelerate case finding and stop the transmission of leprosy through a combined approach of improved leprosy control, preventative antibiotics to contacts of persons affected by leprosy, and strong community involvement to raise awareness.