The Leprosy Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (LPEP) program showed that providing preventative treatment to close contacts of newly diagnosed leprosy patients – such as family members or friends – can curb transmission of the disease.
The Novartis Foundation worked with a wide network of partners, including Ministries of Health, to implement LPEP in eight countries. Over 170,000 contacts of patients were screened, of whom about 150,000 received preventative treatment across Brazil, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.
An evaluation of the program, published in The Lancet Global Health, suggested that if the approach is scaled up globally, near-elimination of the disease could become a reality in a single generation.
The LPEP model was included in the revised World Health Organization (WHO) Global Leprosy Strategy for 2016–2020, meaning operational learnings could support further countries with national implementation.
LPEP partners included several International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) members: Netherlands Leprosy Relief, FAIRMED, American Leprosy Missions and the German Leprosy and TB Relief Association, as well as academic institutions including the Erasmus University Medical Center and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.