American Leprosy Missions: A Collaboration to Treat Neglected Tropical Diseases


For over a century, American Leprosy Missions (ALM) has been dedicated to curing, caring for, and eradicating neglected tropical diseases. Through advocacy, research, and introducing new technologies, ALM is enhancing global health organizations’ and countries’ abilities to find, identify, and treat people affected by diseases like leprosy. Their efforts accelerate solutions by strengthening health systems to deliver care faster to affected populations. Since 1906, ALM has worked tirelessly to bring an end to neglected diseases worldwide.


ALM had undertaken an ambitious new project that, if successful, would greatly benefit people suffering from neglected skin diseases across Africa. The project was a collaboration between ALM, European pharmaceutical companies, and the African nations of Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sudan. The goal was to figure out a way to fund and implement a project for the simultaneous diagnosis of five skin neglected tropical diseases in five African endemic countries. By partnering with pharmaceutical companies and endemic nations, ALM hoped to create an integrated approach that would allow efficient diagnosis and access to care for affected populations across national borders. The project had the potential to significantly advance both research and treatment for these overlooked diseases in Africa.


After months of negotiations between all involved parties, a pharmaceutical company finally drafted a collaboration agreement for ALM’s review. Our role was to work closely with ALM’s lead scientist to ensure the agreement was ethical, clearly delineated each party’s roles and responsibilities, and protected ALM’s interests. Through multiple revisions of the agreement, we secured favorable terms for ALM while upholding strong ethical standards. The finalized agreement established a fair framework for collaboration, with transparency around each partner’s contributions and expectations. Our diligent review process enabled ALM to move forward confidently on this groundbreaking project to diagnose and treat neglected tropical skin diseases across Africa. By securing a sound ethical and legal foundation, we helped pave the way for ALM to make a meaningful impact on improving access to healthcare for underserved populations.


After months of preparation, the historic collaboration agreement was finally signed by all parties. Within days, coordinated diagnosis and treatment programs were operational across Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sudan. These integrated initiatives represented a monumental achievement in tackling long-overlooked diseases in Africa. By leveraging shared expertise and resources across borders, ALM and its partners were able to rapidly launch services to identify and care for populations affected by neglected tropical diseases. Through steadfast coordination and advocacy, ALM had turned its vision into reality – bringing hope and healing to thousands suffering from treatable but neglected diseases. The future looks brighter thanks to these dedicated teams working together to deliver solutions and strengthen health systems across the continent.

It was an excellent experience on the whole working with Kyle and the Westaway group. I strongly recommend them.

Dr.Sundeep Chaitanya, Senior Director of Research & Innovation at American Leprosy Missions

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