Nay Myo Aung, 26, is screened for leprosy in the town of Min Hla in Myanmar. After noticing patches on his skin coupled by weakness and joint pain, he approached the leprosy post-exposure prophylaxis (LPEP) program when they arrived in his town.
The diagnosis of leprosy is a challenge in global health. Currently, there are no diagnostic tests for leprosy, only clinical assessment. The assessment for leprosy involves a light touch to the skin while the patient looks away. The patient is then asked what they felt. Nay Myo Aung’s leprosy is quite far advanced and there is likely nerve damage, affecting his ability to sense touch. It is estimated that 1.2 million people are visibly and irreversibly disabled by leprosy.
To cover the last mile in making leprosy history, the challenge is to interrupt its transmission. With programs like LPEP, the Novartis Foundation and partners are working to bring the world closer to the eventual goal of leprosy elimination.