India has the world’s second largest population: more than 1.3 billion people. As the seventh largest country in the world it is known for its diversity of landscape, wildlife and people groups.

Thanks to economic growth, more than 90 million people in India escaped extreme poverty between 1995 and 2015. But despite this, there are still many people struggling: one in five people in India lives on less than US$1.90 per day.

In 2020, India had 51 per cent of all new cases of leprosy diagnosed worldwide, 65,147 in total*. 3,753 of these new cases were in children. There are 1.3 doctors per 1,000 people compared to 2.87 per 1,000 people in the UK.

Having worked in India for for than 145 years, we currently support more than 20 projects there, working in partnership with The Leprosy Mission Trust India. These include healthcare, livelihood support, community empowerment, advocacy and research and training.

*The number of new cases of leprosy diagnosed in 2020 was severely impacted by Covid-19 (there were 202,488 new cases diagnosed in 2019)


We support three hospitals in India, one in Chhattisgarh and two in West Bengal. They provide high quality treatment for people affected by leprosy and also serve other people in their local regions. We also support a snehalaya, also known as a mercy home, providing care for elderly people affected by leprosy who have nowhere else to go.

One of our recent innovations in healthcare includes investment in new ways of producing custom footwear for people affected by leprosy, including use of 3D printing technology.

Sustainable Livelihoods

Providing livelihood opportunities for people affected by leprosy and their family members means they can lift themselves out of poverty. We support two Vocational Training Centres that provide training opportunities so that people affected by leprosy can pursue jobs in fields such as mechanics, welding, nursing and computing.

We also support community projects that enable people affected by leprosy to earn a living and contribute to society in a way that improves wellbeing and breaks down the barriers of stigma.


Working with people affected by leprosy and their local communities, we empower them to advocate for their rights, including campaigning for discriminatory laws at both a national, state and district level to be repealed. Awareness and education campaigns are regularly held in the areas we work to address the discrimination and stigma surrounding leprosy.


We support The Leprosy Mission Trust India as the team work to find new techniques and ways to defeat leprosy, generating evidence both nationally and internationally. Research includes operational research to ensure our programmes are working effectively – including working with existing health systems, research looking into transmission of leprosy, disability management and reducing stigma.

The Stanley Browne Research Laboratory in New Delhi is at the forefront of global leprosy research.


The Leprosy Mission Trust India is recognised as a global centre of excellence for leprosy and we are working to share this expertise globally, through a mixture of face-to-face and online learning.

Read news and updates from India

Pahar's story

Pahar is training to be a diesel mechanic at a Leprosy Mission vocational training centre (VTC) in West Bengal, India. He was diagnosed with leprosy in 2018 and completed a 12-month course of multidrug therapy, curing him of the disease. When a member of staff from the VTC visited Pahar's village, he encouraged him to visit and see if he would like to start a course there. Having wanted to be a mechanic since he was a small boy, Pahar jumped at the chance.

His ambition is to complete further study and one day, design new and innovative types of engine. "I'm very thankful to have been supported in my learning," he said. "I've had the opportunity to do a good course with good teaching that has helped me grow as a person."

Pahar cropped

Achievements in India

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In 2020, staff used text messaging, WhatsApp and radio to raise awareness about leprosy and Covid-19 among thousands of people in lockdown

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The new outpatients' department at Purulia Hospital enabled staff there to treat 58,554 patients in 2020

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In 2020, 4,342 people living in the slums of Mumbai were treated by the Karuna Mobile Health Clinic