68th World Leprosy Day
On World Leprosy Day, which was celebrated around the world on 29th January 2021, the CIOMAL Foundation of the Order of Malta was very pleased to initiate a new partnership with the Alliance Against Leprosy, an organisation active in the fight against Hansen’s disease in Brazil, a country that is particularly invested in reducing the incidence of the disease.
This cooperation will allow for specific intervention in the state of Mato Grosso, where the needs are huge. Each year, over 4,000 new leprosy cases are detected in the state, including 181 cases among minors under the age of 15.
The CIOMAL Foundation is thrilled to start this collaboration which is intended to carry out actions focusing on training and transfer of skills, such as:
- the creation of digital orthopedic shoemaking facilities, outfitting of a lorry, and training of specialised staff;
- remote medicine, which was highly encouraged during the pandemic. This will allow many leprologists to supervise general practitioners working in the state clinics in Mato Grosso, which will contribute to improving the quality of the healthcare services provided to patients and increasing the transfer of skills;
- the continuous technical training of local teams.
Additionally, CIOMAL has continued its work in Cambodia, including by finalising the transfer of the healthcare facilities to local authorities. Thanks to the support of the CIOMAL Foundation, the National Programme to Fight Leprosy has opened a clinic with 8 beds for leprosy patients in Phnom Penh this year. The medical equipment of the clinic was donated by CIOMAL. Also, consultations are carried out by two government doctors who have specialised in leprosy at the CIOMAL centre for the past 20 years. In addition, leprosy patients may be admitted in ad hoc units within two government hospitals in Battambang and Kompong Cham, where they can receive surgical interventions.
Activities in Cambodia have expanded, particularly through trainings and awareness campaigns aimed at consolidating the transfer of knowledge on leprosy with medical professionals and the general population. Finally, the CIOMAL Foundation’s mobile units have been traveling the country in partnership with the National Programme in order to identify new leprosy cases and supply the sick with the appropriate treatment so they avoid incurring severe disabilities. These field teams provide socio-economic support to the poorest families among those affected by leprosy, for instance by building homes or latrines, setting up rural projects to ensure long-term subsistence, or allocating school or university scholarships for the youth.
As international partnerships between specialised NGOs have proven to be successful time and again, the CIOMAL Foundation and the Alliance Against Leprosy trust that their collaboration with local governments will be essential to achieve the eradication of Hansen’s disease. Our 20 years of experience in Cambodia lead us to believe that this is the most effective way to attain positive results for both patients and medical teams.
We wholeheartedly thank you for any donation you are able to contribute to help us eradicate this often neglected disease.
Let’s not forget them. They need us.
Thank you for your support.
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