The 20th International Leprosy Congress

More than 1,000 delegates from 55 countries met in Manila to share research and experience on all facets of leprosy.

The International Leprosy Congress is a once-in-three-years ‘snapshot’ of the leprosy world. It was impressive to see people who had attended six, seven or even more Congresses over the years. But equally impressive, we saw large numbers of scientists and practitioners who are relatively new to the leprosy field, including 12% of delegates under 30 years of age. The overall theme was “Global partnership in addressing current challenges”. Many speakers referred to the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, which was formed as a direct outcome of the 2016 Congress, and more generally to the need to work together if we are to achieve the goal of zero leprosy. 

The organisers prepared a 7-minute highlights video which can be viewed here. There were some great plenary presentations, and to see the visuals from any of these, click here. Compared with the 2016 Congress, there was an increase in the participation of persons affected by leprosy – boosted by the Global Forum which was held just before the Congress – and in the number of sessions on human rights, participation and psycho-social aspects of leprosy. The rise in importance of post-exposure prophylaxis was also evident in the number of sessions devoted to PEP and contact screening.

The next Congress will be held in India in 2022.