Leprosy preventative medication pills
A close contact of a person affected by leprosy takes preventative medication against leprosy

Decreasing the risk that direct contacts develop leprosy

The LPEP Program determines the feasibility and acceptability of a single dose of rifampicin (SDR) as a preventative treatment for leprosy. Rifampicin is given to direct contacts of newly diagnosed leprosy patients to decrease their risk of developing the disease. Since 2015, we have implemented the programme in India, Indonesia, and Nepal in close collaboration with these countries’ Ministries of Health, other ILEP (International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations) members, under coordination of and supported by Novartis Foundation.

Going further than ever before to stop leprosy transmission

Between 2018 and 2022, we will be fully dedicating our efforts to go further than ever before in stopping the transmission of leprosy in an innovative project which is funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery through its “Dream Fund.” In this project, we screen direct contacts of new cases using a screening test that can detect leprosy at a subclinical stage. Those that test positive are given an enhanced prophylactic treatment, which we have named PEP++. Other contacts will receive a single dose of rifampicin.

Prophylactic treatment in LPEP project

Generating scientific evidence

This programme is not only directly making a huge difference in preventing new cases of leprosy. It is also generating scientific evidence with which we can inform and influence governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), and investors to follow this path towards stopping transmission.