ON THE GROUND
THANKS TO YOUR INVOLVEMENT
AND YOUR GENEROSITY
EVERYTHING BECOMES POSSIBLE
The detection of leprosy in the strict sense of the word does not exist, since we still know very little about the mode of contamination of the disease, given its very long incubation period. One way to counteract the disease is the rapid detection of cases and their quick access to treatment in order to eliminate the contagion of other people and the serious handicaps that are linked to the disease.
Prevention is therefore based on raising awareness of the population in rural and urban areas (disseminating knowledge about the disease as widely as possible) and training of health personnel.
PREVENTION OF DISABILITY
People affected by leprosy are trained in proper self-care to reduce the risk of injury related to their disease. The trainings include physical exercises, instructions on how to care for injuries, and practices for performing daily activities safely. These trainings are conducted by medical staff and also include physical assessments, instruction in the use of daily living tools, and distribution of appropriate equipment.
Leprosy can cause neurological damage to the eyes, hands and feet. In the early stages, the disease is often underestimated and treatment is less effective. It is therefore important to raise awareness of the early signs of the disease. However, discrimination and lack of knowledge form barriers and taboos related to leprosy, which need to be overcome by means of information campaigns. For example, since 2005, the CIOMAL Foundation has conducted awareness sessions in more than 200 textile factories in Cambodia, reaching more than 500,000 women workers, with significant impact (strong increase in understanding of the disease, better knowledge of early signs and treatment options).
4 MAIN IDEAS
1. Detection of leprosy is difficult because of the long incubation period and is not well known. Prevention is achieved by raising awareness of the population and training health personnel.
2. Importance of detecting early signs of leprosy to avoid complications.
3. Obstacles and taboos related to leprosy require awareness campaigns.
4. Positive impact of awareness campaigns on understanding the disease and treatment options.
Early detection can be passive (information campaigns, training of national health services staff) or active (systematic screening of people living in the vicinity of a patient affected by the disease).
With the financial support of the Novartis Foundation, the CIOMAL Foundation launched in 2011 a pilot project of active ” Contact Tracing ” in Cambodia, which has achieved spectacular results (more than 600 patients have been screened and treated in 5 years) in the systematic fight against leprosy.
For an average cost of about 120 USD per case, this method allows to:
- Detect new leprosy cases early in the disease, stop contagion to others and prevent severe disabilities Train medical staff at all levels
- Train medical staff at all levels
- Raise awareness of the population directly in the villages
- Ensure proper follow-up of patients
We fight poverty by implementing sustainable and local solutions, helping people affected by leprosy to reintegrate into their communities and giving them access to professional or educational training or to means to develop an economic activity.
The CIOMAL Foundation offers scholarships for children affected by leprosy or those living in a family with a parent affected by leprosy. It also offers vocational training for adults, financial support to develop an economic activity (such as raising pigs, chickens or cows, or equipping repair or handicraft workshops), as well as food aid or the construction of a home for the most vulnerable people. The loans are generally in the range of 150 to 300 USD and allow these people to live independently, to develop themselves and to raise a family.
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR TRAINING
Training, which is present in all CIOMAL projects, is a crucial action in the fight against leprosy. These trainings are intended for experts, local professionals, specialized surgeons, students and future professionals (in medicine and physiotherapy, in particular), as well as patients. They aim to transfer skills to different local levels.
CIOMAL’s multidisciplinary team also receives annual training – local surgeons are trained by expatriate surgeons who assist with patient surgery sessions. National Leprosy Elimination Program staff at all levels also receive training.
I CAN CHANGE A LIFE TODAY
People affected by leprosy suffer from terrible discrimination and totally unfair isolation.
Patients often do not have access to drug treatments because they are too expensive for them. Even a small donation can help provide the necessary treatment and give people affected by leprosy a new life.