• Research priorities: Operational research
  • Country: India, Nigeria
  • Project no.: FP24\21
  • Budget: €102,520
  • Duration: June 2024 - May 2026
  • Status: Not yet started
  • Co-funding partners: St Francis Leprosy Guild

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Full project title
Capacity Building for Leprosy

Project coordination
The Leprosy Mission Nigeria

GLRA India
RedAid Nigeria
The Leprosy Mission Trust India

Aim: The primary aim of this study is to build evidence on the quality and impact of blended training packages developed as part of the Lift Leprosy Learning project and piloted in Nigeria and India based on identified learning needs of health workers (at community level, service level and supervisory level). This evidence will add to the limited body of evidence on blended learning in leprosy (and other NTDs).

Project summary
The CapaBLe (Capacity Building in Leprosy) research project aims to study the effect of updated, modernized training materials developed for those working with people affected by leprosy.

Leprosy, a neglected tropical disease caused by leprosy bacteria and affecting the nerve system, can cause paralysis and loss of sensation leading to complications such as wounds, infections and blindness. Although great progress has been made in the treatment of leprosy in past decades, over 200.000 new cases are still diagnosed each year. Missing these cases risks the disease to spread again causing more medical, social and economic suffering. Envisioning a world without this disease asks for effective early diagnosis and treatment of patients, which requires skilled project managers, supervisors, health staff and community health workers, who are the target group of our project.

Training of new people remains important. In 2021 the International Federation of Leprosy Organizations concluded that knowledge gaps exist at all levels of leprosy programs and approaches used to train people were outdated and not sustainable. Over the years, effective learning approaches and new digital developments such as telemedicine and e-learning have emerged. These new opportunities are also available in the field of leprosy. Hence, a group of leprosy organizations initiated the Lift leprosy Learning project (2023-2025) to develop and pilot modernized training approaches and materials, building on existing knowledge.

The two year CapaBle project will study the effect of these modernized training packages (a combination of on-line and face-to-face modules) in pre-selected areas in India and Nigeria. The packages are being defined based on the needs of the target group in the two countries in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health. To measure the effect the study will use different research methods: testing of knowledge (before and after trainings), interviewing trainees and trainers about their experience, observing trainees diagnosing or treating leprosy patients, and calculating the costs of these trainings. We also plan to compare and identify differences between the effect of training people in a single disease (as is the case in India) and offering training in an integrated multi-disease manner (Nigeria). Study results will provide evidence on the effect of the trainings, and insights on what does and does not work in different locations. This information will be useful for improving trainings; to convince others to use the trainings in other countries, and to add more evidence to what we already know about certain training approaches.