The research wing of TLMTI, which is engaged in clinical, basic science and social research, generates evidence on improving diagnosis of leprosy and identifying stressors and motivators for disclosure of disease among people so that self-reporting is encouraged. The team at TLMTI has developed a multiplex PCR test for early diagnosis, which is now being made into a field-friendly tool. This will help diagnose leprosy early and curb transmission. They are also working on understanding environmental risk factors of leprosy and evidence suggests transmission through soil and water.
In collaboration with the states and the Centre, TLMTI is training government doctors on identifying the signs of leprosy and building their capacity to support early detection and screening efforts as a part of the National Leprosy Eradication Programme.
In The Leprosy Mission hospitals, all contacts of newly diagnosed leprosy patients are screened to detect early leprosy and initiate treatment, which, in turn, prevents further transmission. TLMTI’s community interventions are focussed on creating leprosy-related awareness, to change behaviours and attitudes of communities towards the disease which, eventually, leads to reduced stigma and early reporting. The advocacy & communications team of TLMTI develops information, education, and communication materials in different languages to make communities aware of the importance of WASH interventions and the benefits of self-reporting.