Diseases of poverty and stigmatisation
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect the world’s most underprivileged, often with grave consequences for the patients and their families. More than a billion people in almost 150 countries are infected with NTDs. The diseases can cause chronic illness and disabilities leading to stigma and social exclusion. Healthcare costs arising from NTDs have a severe negative impact on the economies of the most affected countries which at the same time undermines development goals. If treated holistically, the majority of NTDs can however be controlled, prevented, eliminated and even eradicated.
Since its inception in 1957, DAHW has assisted millions of people suffering from leprosy and other NTDs through active case finding and early treatment. DAHW has contributed substantially to the development of the multi-drug treatment (MDT) scheme - now the current standard therapy for leprosy. Over time, DAHW gradually expanded its support services including other NTDs, e.g. Buruli ulcer. Applying a holistic approach, DAHW also promotes the physical and social rehabilitation and empowerment of people with disabilities often caused by the diseases. It provides capacity building and training of health care workers and staff of national programmes. The organization is further engaged in research, e.g. in the area of leprosy prophylaxis for contact persons.