Physical Effects of Leprosy

Leprosy Poverty Impact: The Socioeconomic Challenges Patients Face

Leprosy, a disease often misunderstood and stigmatized, has a profound impact on the livelihoods of those affected. One of the most significant challenges faced by leprosy patients is the physical disabilities that limit their work opportunities, the leprosy poverty impact. Leprosy can cause nerve damage and physical deformities, which can severely restrict a person’s ability to perform manual labor, a primary source of income for many in developing countries.[1]

In a study conducted by the Bombay Leprosy Project, it was found that the magnitude of the problem posed by leprosy patients with disabilities and their rehabilitation is highly challenging and is expected to pose a heavy burden on the community. The physical care of the disabled leprosy patients, which is confined to hospitals and institutions, has not penetrated into the community and doorstep of patients. This lack of community-based care further exacerbates the problem, leaving many leprosy patients unable to work and therefore without a steady income.[2]

The Economic Hardship: A Cycle of Poverty

The physical limitations imposed by leprosy often lead to economic hardship. In a study conducted in Jharkhand, India, it was found that 54% of leprosy patients and leprosy cured people (mostly with visible deformities) were found to practice begging as their sole means of livelihood.[3] This reliance on begging for survival underscores the dire economic conditions faced by many leprosy patients.

The study also revealed that many leprosy-affected persons are engaged in cultivation and small-scale business, particularly among the rural population. However, the physical disabilities caused by leprosy can make these occupations challenging, further contributing to the cycle of poverty.[4]

The Challenge of Self-Sufficiency in Leprosy Colonies

Leprosy colonies, often seen as a solution to the stigma and isolation faced by leprosy patients, present their own set of challenges. While these colonies provide a community for those affected by leprosy, they often struggle with self-sufficiency.[5]

In the leprosy asylums of South Asia, for example, leprosy-affected people were increasingly employed in occupations that contributed to their sustenance and self-sufficiency. However, the physical disabilities caused by leprosy often made these occupations challenging, limiting the economic productivity of the colonies.[6]

GFA World has been actively involved in leprosy ministry since 2007, providing support and care to those affected by this disease. Through their work, GFA World aims to alleviate the economic hardship faced by leprosy patients and help them regain their self-sufficiency.

The impact of leprosy on livelihoods is profound, but with your help, we can make a difference. By sponsoring a GFA World national missionary or giving towards GFA World’s leprosy ministry, you can provide much-needed support to those affected by this disease. Your contribution can help provide medical care, rehabilitation services, and vocational training to leprosy patients, helping them regain their self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty.

Join us in our mission to alleviate the impact of leprosy on livelihoods. Together, we can make a difference.

Learn more about the physical effects of leprosy

[1] Ganapati, R. “Community Care of the Physically Disabled Due to Leprosy.” Indian Dermatology Online Journal 2, no. 2 (July 2011): 70–74.
[2] Mulugeta, Solomon Sisay, Bezanesh Melese Maseresha, Selamawit Getachew Wassihun, and Yikeber Abebaw Moyehodie. “Risk Factors for Disability Upgrading Among Leprosy Patients During Treatment: Multilevel Modeling Analysis.” SAGE Open Nursing 8 (October 9, 2022): 23779608221129936.
[3] Martos-Casado, Gema, Carmen Vives-Cases, and Diana Gil-González. “Community Intervention Programmes with People Affected by Leprosy: Listening to the Voice of Professionals.” PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 16, no. 3 (March 28, 2022): e0010335.
[4] Kumar, Alok, et al. “Socio-Economic and Health Status of Leprosy Affected Person: A Study in Jharkhand.” PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 Nov. 2023,
[5] Abdul Rahman, Norana, Vaikunthan Rajaratnam, George L Burchell, Ruth M H Peters, and Marjolein B M Zweekhorst. “Experiences of Living with Leprosy: A Systematic Review and Qualitative Evidence Synthesis.” PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 16, no. 10 (October 5, 2022): e0010761.
[6] “Leprosy in India.” Wikipedia, July 28, 2023.