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Leprosy and its climate dimension


Extreme weather events impacts different people differently. This is true for persons affected by leprosy and other disabling health conditions. Unlike the general population, they get exposed to additional risks. While economic and material deprivations caused by extreme weather events and other climate anomalies are well documented and reported globally, the reportage often does not capture the complex interplay of diverse determinants of vulnerability.

Four a country such as India, which is working towards addressing challenges like low Human Development Index and high climate vulnerability, it is important to untangle the intersection of climate change, disease, and economic deprivation.

To do that, we need to ask the right questions. For example, how do extreme climate events affect those who are already jeopardised by a range of vulnerabilities: disease, disability, income uncertainty, geographical remoteness, etc.? What does climate threat mean for the population living in climate-vulnerable areas and in multidimensional poverty? How disproportionate is the impact of climate change on families that require frequent access to treatments? How to climate anomalies shape people's vulnerability experiences?

The aim of this report is to answer these crucial questions, which can be a meaningful beginning towards developing responsive policies and resilient communities. The report delved into the determinants of vulnerability of people affected by Leprosy and other disabilities and their lived experiences during extreme climate events. It also explores the Issues that exclude them from the mainstream support system and make climate change impact more profound.

This report is a synthesis of the latest research into these questions, complemented by on-ground interviews with people affected by Leprosy and other disabilities in two highly climate-vulnerable states: West Bengal and Bihar. All the findings point to a need for a multi-dimensional assessment of vulnerability in leprosy endemic areas while making efforts towards health systems strengthening and climate adaptation and mitigation.

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