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Research

A vital investment

TLM has been involved in research for more than 50 years. Research is crucial to improving how leprosy is diagnosed and treated. Without research, progress in caring for and curing people affected by leprosy would have been very limited.

But supporters like you, alongside funding grants, have made a significant contribution in helping us to understand leprosy, how it might be transmitted and the role we can play in preventing it from being passed from person to person.

And this plays a crucial role in TLM’s long-term goal of achieving zero leprosy transmission by 2035 – this will mean that, if achieved, there will be NO new cases of leprosy anywhere in the world. A big challenge, but not an impossible one and one that can only be accomplished if we invest in research and depend on God for the outcome.

Nearly every advance in leprosy prevention and treatment can be connected to TLM’s leprosy research contributions. For example:

  • Research has led to breakthroughs in the way reconstructive surgery is carried out, like Dr Paul Brand’s pioneering surgical interventions at TLM hospitals in India in the 1940s and 50s. His work restored the function in a leprosy patient’s hands and feet enabling them to work again, support their families, walk unaided and play a more active part in their communities.

  • During the 1960s and 70s, TLM was instrumental in implementing drug trials which led to the development of Multi-Drug Therapy, a combination of antibiotic drugs that cure leprosy. This has meant that over 16 million people have been cured of leprosy in the last 20 years. 

That’s incredible!

  • Global involvement

    TLM has research centres in Bangladesh, India and Nepal and operates two laboratories, one in India and one in Nepal. Not all our research is lab- or hospital based. TLM incorporates research into its community and public health projects so that knowledge about leprosy and the impact it has on people’s lives can be increased. We are then much better placed to help people more effectively.

  • TLM NI's involvement

    In 2018 your generosity meant that we were able to part-fund TLM’s global research adviser role, held by Deanna Hagge based in Nepal. Deanna runs the lab at Anandaban Hospital and undertakes many other vital tasks as part of her senior research role, including representing the Global Fellowship at international research conferences.