Looking further ahead – 25 years of dedicated service
As announced several months ago, the KKLRC rehabilitation centre in Phnom Penh closed its doors at the end of 2020.
Thanks to the solid partnership established between the CIOMAL Foundation and government institutions, the issue of leprosy has been handled particularly well and all patients have been transferred to Cambodian health centres.
Significant transfer of capacities was implemented early on, which allowed for the continuation of awareness raising activities, detection campaigns and medical staff training. These have been coordinated by teams trained by the CIOMAL Foundation. Two thusly trained physicians are now in charge of consultations in the new 8-bed clinic built in partnership with the National Programme to Fight Leprosy.
In addition, mobile units have continued to travel the country in order to identify new leprosy cases and provide those affected with adequate treatment. In accordance with the new WHO guidelines, communities receive prophylactic treatment aimed at quelling the disease in the most affected areas. Thanks to these regular visits, the teams have also been able to carry out urgent projects such as the building of homes or more simply latrines, as well as to provide eco-nomic support through scholarships for instance.
2020: over 11 daily consultations
2020 demonstrated once again the expertise of the teams trained by the CIOMAL Foundation: nearly 4,400 people came to the KKLRC centre, whether for dermatological or more general reasons. Thanks to these visits, 15 new leprosy cases were detected and received immediate treatment.
Some patients even received surgery on the premises within a shorter period of time, which guarantees a better recovery for them.
Early detection and prophylaxis
During the five detection campaigns carried out in Cambodia in 2020, 13 new leprosy cases were detected.
This low number can certainly be attributed to three factors:
- Since early 2020, the National Programme decided upon the recommendation of the WHO to combine contact tracing and leprosy post-exposure prophylaxis. This strategy has drastically reduced the available time and accordingly the number of persons detected.
- A significant trend of economic migration was noted: many have left for the big cities and they are therefore less distant, physically as well as humanly and medically.
- The effectiveness of the long-term awareness-raising work has paid off. Combined with prophylactic treatment, the transmission of leprosy has decreased.
Capacity strengthening for the PAL Association (Persons Affected by Leprosy)
Every month, a training is provided to all association members so they can share information and knowledge. In 2020, 176 members participated and exchanged views on various topics such as management, leadership, positive thinking, national disability, human resources or advocacy skills. These moments in the association provide the participants with the opportunity to join a circle in which they are welcomed, listened to and heard. They all mingle despite the disease, share their experiences with it, and come out with a fighting spirit and high morale.
Socio-economic support for persons affected by leprosy
In 2020, the CIOMAL Foundation maintained its support to those affected by leprosy in various ways:
- Sponsorship for 42 students, food aid for 25 persons in need.
- Distribution of 40 water filters.
- Assistance to more than 40 families for sustainable development projects.
- Building of latrines.
- And maintenance of 9 homes.
Today, leprosy is 100% curable with a medical treatment. But even when they are healed, those who were affected often continue to suffer severe disabilities. Together with their families, they are excluded from society, lose their jobs and houses, are rejected by hospitals, or are unable to send their children to school. These multiple forms of exclusion represent serious violations of their fundamental rights.
CIOMAL works not only to eliminate leprosy from the world but also to put an end to the discrimination against those that were affected and their families. It is crucial that people carrying the marks of leprosy be perceived as “disabled persons” and not as “lepers” anymore.
Your generous support helps them regain dignity and find their place in society.