SMHF looks at leprosy as a complex of medical and social/human aspects. Initially it placed a greater emphasis on medical aspects offering cure to endemic countries worldwide. Since the mid-1990s it has been increasingly addressing social and human aspects of leprosy. SMHF believes that a world without leprosy, free from stigma and discrimination, cannot be achieved unless the individuals cured of leprosy enjoy equal and full opportunities as constructive members of the community. SMHF believes in empowerment of individuals, families and communities affected by leprosy, and supports projects to make them economically and socially independent and empowers them through better education and networking. Since 2003, a representative of people affected by Hansen’s disease has been a member of the SMHF Council.