Introducing Lift Leprosy Learning, a blended learning program on reducing health-related stigma

Over the past few months, the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) and Health[e]Foundation have been collaborating on a new blended learning program aimed at reducing health-related stigma and improving mental wellbeing: Lift Leprosy Learning (LLL).

Lift Leprosy Learning

Funded by ILEP, the LLL program aims to equip health professionals, health managers, and persons affected by stigma-causing health conditions with the knowledge and skills necessary to reduce health-related stigma and improve the mental wellbeing in their practices and daily life. According to the WHO Global Leprosy Strategy, reducing stigma associated with diseases that cause stigma, such as leprosy, will ultimately contribute to the goal of zero leprosy. LLL will first be piloted by practitioners and persons who have experienced health-related stigma before being distributed to the wider target population.

Kickoff workshop

Last Thursday, ILEP held their kickoff online workshop with NLR (Until No Leprosy Remains) practitioners and persons affected by stigma-causing diseases who are currently working on inclusion, stigma, and mental wellbeing. A total of 16 participants from India, Nepal, Brazil, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Indonesia started with this brand new e-course. Robin van Wijk of NLR provided a comprehensive overview on the connection between leprosy-related stigma and mental wellbeing, ending with important steps on what can be done. Inspired by the primer, participants were invited into breakout rooms to discuss personal and professional experiences of stigma reduction in their own contexts. Discussions were rich with testimonies on multidisciplinary efforts to improve mental wellbeing and reduce health-related stigma among staff and in wider communities. Participants will spend the next two months studying the material before reconvening in January for a final focus group discussion to gather feedback on LLL.

We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with ILEP on this innovative blended learning program and look forward to the insightful feedback from the kickoff participants.