Intensified research can help to develop new drugs and vaccines while improved distribution systems.
Intensified research can help to develop new drugs and vaccines while improved distribution systems.
Foto: DAHW

Research today for more effective help tomorrow

About 1,9 billion people are globally affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) - often resulting in disability or death. Tuberculosis, leprosy and other NTDs are poverty-related which hardly affect people in the light income countries of the world. As a real „market “ for the diagnostics and treatment interventions for these diseases is lacking, little research has been done on them. Through appropriate measures however, it is possible to cure or - even better - to prevent the diseases from breaking out in the first place. Intensified research, for example, can help to develop new drugs and vaccines while improved distribution systems ensure better accessibility of those interventions which are already available.

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.

Developing new medicine is an important part of medical research.
Developing new medicine is an important part of medical research.
Foto: Bernd Hartung / DAHW

Where we work 

  • Ideal: A research initiative to reduce the transmission of leprosy by developing new diagnostic methods and collecting epidemiological data. The initiative is active in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Columbia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and in Thailand.
  • Relapse surveillance: A world-wide monitoring study on leprosy relapses and on the development of drug resistances.
  • Tenlep: A research initiative for treatment of neuropathy in leprosy patients in Egypt, Brazil, India, Indonesia and in the Philippines.
  • The DAHW is actively participating in the LPEP-study. This is a scientific initiative by several academic bodies, NGOs and by the Novartis Foundation. It examines the effectiveness of the Rifampicin Post-Exposure-Prophylaxis in contact persons of patients infected with leprosy in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, India, Indonesia and Tanzania.
  • DAHW supports the current development of a vaccine for leprosy by the American institution IDRI. It will soon be tested in clinical trials.
  • The DAHW’s own research projects in medical and social research take place in Ethiopia, Togo, Tanzania, India, Senegal, Colombia and Ghana.

Facts & Figures

DAHW German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association has been involved in research since 1970s. It supports numerous large scale and smaller research projects in the area of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), mainly leprosy and buruli ulcer. The organisation further supports research in prevention, early detection of tuberculosis through the application of new technologies and the development of vaccines. In 2014 DAHW together with other NGOs created the Memento-Award for „research and development “on NTDs.

Partners & Networks

Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam (patient care), Leonard Wood Memorial Center for Leprosy Research“ in Cebu, Philippines (Leprosy Epidemiology), Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) in Addis Ababa/ Ethiopia (Immunobiology of leprosy and epidemiological research), Medical Mission Institute in Würzburg (projects in Tanzania on TB diagnosis and schistosomiasis control, projects in India on leprosy transmission), Ludwig-Maximillian’s-University in Munich and Hygiene-Institute in Togo (molecular leprosy research and research in buruli ulcer), Leprosy Research Initiative (Founding member and equity contribution), Novartis Foundation (LPEP study)