International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Dr Cynthia Ruth Butlin

    Status Physician
    Country United Kingdom


    Cynthia Ruth Butlin (Ruth Butlin) (1953-) is a British doctor and medical advisor who works with The Leprosy Mission and other organisations as part of leprosy control efforts in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

    Butlin studied physiological sciences at the University of Oxford (1971-74) and medicine at the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff (1974-77). Over the next four years she underwent further medical training, during which she passed her MRCGP, and also applied to the Leprosy Mission for overseas work.

    In 1981 Butlin visited a leprosy clinic in London to learn from Dr Michael Waters. In 1982 she was posted to Richardson Leprosy Hospital, Miraj, Maharashtra, India, as a medical officer. From 1982 to 1991 she was engaged in training hospital workers, carrying out research and assisting in leprosy control measures. In 1983 she also took a six-week course on leprosy at SLRTC, Karigiri, Tamil Nadu.

    For a decade from 1991, she was medical superintendent at Anandaban Leprosy Hospital, Kathmandu. During this time she started the Central Region Technical Support Project (1995) and participated with Dr CK Rao in independent evaluation of the national leprosy control programme (1996). She was also one of the founding members of the Nepal Network of Leprosy NGOs, a forum to facilitate cooperation between organisations in order to more effectively implement the National Leprosy Elimination Program (NLEP). She carried out clinical, administrative and teaching work throughout, and participated in the research carried out at the Mycobacterial research laboratories.

    From 2001 to 2003, she was superintendent of Purulia Leprosy Hospital and Home in West Bengal. In 2001, she received a CBE for services to the eradication of leprosy in India and Nepal.

    From 2003 to 2007, she acted as medical advisor for TLM projects at Nilphamari in Bangladesh (formerly known as the Danish Bangladesh Leprosy Mission), working in leprosy, tuberculosis control, teaching, course development, and research.

    After her mother's death in 2007, Butlin moved back to England to care for her elderly father, and worked as a GP during this time. When her father passed away in 2012, she returned to Bangladesh to continue working for The Leprosy Mission at Nilphamari, now as a volunteer. As a doctor highly experienced with leprosy treatment, she chose to volunteer in order to maximise her contributions without being overloaded by administration responsibilities, as many other staff members were. She still works at Nilphamari as of October 2015, where she performs clinical work, recruits and trains new medical staff, and assists less experienced staff. She serves on the editorial board of Leprosy Review.


    ‘GP returns to Bangladesh leprosy hospital - as volunteer’. The Leprosy Mission. Online.

    C R Butlin. "Nepal network of leprosy NGO's", Lepr Rev (2003), 74: 163.


    P A J Haslett, P Roche, C R Butlin, M Macdonald, N Shrestha, R Manandhar, J Le Master, R Hawksworth, A S Lubinsky, M Albert, J Worley, G Kaplan. "Effective treatment of erythema leprosum with thalidomide is associated with immune stimulation", J Infect Dis, 192.12 (2005): 2045-53.

    S N S Marlowe, R A Hawksworth, C R Butlin, P G Nicholls, D N J Lockwood. "Clinical outcomes in a randomized controlled study comparing athazioprine and prednisolone versus prednisolone alone in the treatment of severe leprosy type 1 reactions in Nepal." Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 98 (2004): 602-9.

    W Nienhuis, W van Brankel, C R Butlin, T S van der Werf, "Measuring impairment caused by leprosy: inter-tester reliability of the WHO disability grading system", Lep Rev, 75.3 (2004): 221-32.

    L M Robertson, P G Nicholls, and C R Butlin. "Delay in presentation and start of treatment in leprosy: experience in an out-patient clinic in Nepal", Lep Rev, 74 (2000): 511-6.

    C R Butlin. "Nepal network of leprosy NGO's", Lepr Rev (2003), 74: 163.

    J W le Master, T Shwe, C R Butlin, P W Roche, "Prediction of 'highly skin smear positive' cases amongst M B leprosy patients using clinical parameters", Lep Rev, 72 (2001): 23-8.

    R E Weir, C R Butlin, K D Neupane, S S Failbus and H M Dockrell. "Use of whole blood assay to monitor the immune response to Mycobacterial antigens in leprosy patients: a predictor for Type-1 reaction onset?", Lepr Rev, 69 (1998): 279-93.

    R E Weir, P J Brennan, C R Butlin, H M Dockrell, "Use of whole blood assay to evaluate in vivo T-cell responses to new leprosy skin test antigens in leprosy patients and healthy subjects". Clin Exp Immunol, 116 (1998), 263-8..

    C R Butlin, D Soars, K D Neupane, S S Failbus, P W Roche. "IgM anti-phenolic glycolipid-1 anitbody measurements from skin smear sites: correlation with venous antibody levels and the bacterial index", I J L, 65 (1997):465-8.

    P W Roche, J le Master, C R Butlin. "Risk factors for type 1 reactions in leprosy", Int J Lepr Other Mycob Dis, 65 (1997): 450-5.

    C R Butlin, K D Neupane, S S Failbus, A Morgan and W J Britton. "Drug resistance in Nepali leprosy patients" Int J Lepr Other Mycob Dis, 64 (1996): 136-41.

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