Founded in 1958, The CIOMAL Foundation (International Campaign of the Order of Malta against Leprosy) fights against leprosy and all the exclusions linked with this disease. Although it can be cured, it still infects more than 200’000 people each year. Of the more than 2’800’000 people infected, one in ten victims is a child under 14 years old.
Because of the stigma arising from leprosy, victims offer suffer from physical and social exclusion, especially in schools and in the work environment. These multiple rejections constitute serious violations of the fundamental rights of people affected by leprosy. It is for all these reasons that the CIOMAL Foundation finances and manages places in which prevention, medical care and social rehabilitation are applicated in agreement with the governments of the countries concerned.
The Order of Malta is involved in many countries, both in Asia, Africa and South America, with its National Associations, its Grand Priories and its relief work called Malteser International.
The CIOMAL Foundation manages a large-scale program in Cambodia to help in the fight against leprosy. In this program, priority is given to the early detection and rehabilitation of patients, in order to prevent them from potentially irreversible sequelae. CIOMAL is also dedicated to the rehabilitation of patients at the Kien Khleang center, in Phnom Penh, where they benefit from individualized physiotherapy and adapted prostheses or orthoses.
Thanks to all the efforts undertaken by the CIOMAL Foundation and its local partners, Cambodia is no longer considered a priority in the fight against leprosy since the number of new cases per year does not exceed 100, which represents less than 1% of the global total of new leprosy cases each year. These remarkable results prompted the Foundation Council to also work on a strategic reorientation aimed at studying other geographical areas in which CIOMAL could come to the aid of leprosy victims such as Brazil, a country which has around 28,000 new cases each year, accounting for over 14% of the global total of new cases in the world.
The CIOMAL Foundation also supports former patients in their efforts to reintegrate their community. The social and economic dimensions, through vocational and professional training as well as the development of micro-economic activities, are an integral part of the programs set up by the CIOMAL Foundation.
CIOMAL is a charitable organisation under Swiss law. It is made up of a Foundation Board which meets once a year to establish and follow up its projects, an Executive Council, and a permanent secretariat in charge of supervising its programmes. With the exception of the Secretary General and her deputy, the members of the Committee and the Executive Council provide their services free of charge.
CIOMAL designs its projects to be as cost effective as possible; in particular, CIOMAL reinforces the self-sufficiency and consistency of the field programmes, with the aim of reducing the psychological distance between patient and medical staff.
The budget of CIOMAL consists of private and public donations as well as institutional funding.
At the institutional level:
- ILEP members
- Other/various institutional donors (State of Geneva, City of Geneva, Municipalities, FDFA -Federal Department of Foreign Affairs-)
- National associations of the Order of Malta
Public and private funds:
- Sale of quarterly newsletters distributed in Switzerland
- Bequests, legacies
- Private donors
The CIOMAL Foundation has received the financial support of the Novartis Foundation, the ANESVAD Foundation, Netherland Leprosy Relief, the Peter Donders Foundation, the State of Geneva, the City of Geneva, the Order of Malta-France, the Raoul Follereau Foundation, the Global Fund for Forgotten People, the Kiwanis Club of Geneva, the Fondation Dubois-Barbier-Spaenhoven, the Club del Tappo, the Associations of the Order of Malta, as well as all of our public and private donors.
Every year, CIOMAL’s accounts are audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Every year, an independent fiduciary controls CIOMAL’s accounts, which are then submitted for review to the supervisory authority, in this instance the Federal Supervisory Board for Foundations in the Federal Department of Home Affairs.
First known as the International Committee of the Order of Malta against Leprosy – founded in 1958 in Geneva following the International Conference for the Defense and Social Rehabilitation of Lepers, organized by the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Order of Malta – CIOMAL became on April 4, 1999 the CIOMAL Foundation (International Campaign of the Order of Malta against leprosy).
In 1966, the CIOMAL Foundation was one of the founding members of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP). It brings together 15 organizations working against leprosy in 67 countries, in order to coordinate their approaches and methods, as well as to determine the coordination responsibilities for each country.
In 2000, the CIOMAL Foundation opened the Kien Khleang Leprosy Rehabilitation Center (KKLRC) in Phnom Penh. This rehabilitation center for people affected by leprosy is the largest in Cambodia. It offers outpatient treatments and hospitalizations. In addition to the treatment of leprosy, the center offers dermatology consultations. All of the services provided are free for the patients.
In 2002, the CIOMAL Foundation created a socio-economic rehabilitation project (SER) as part of its broader activities to combat the consequences of leprosy in Cambodia. This project (SER) aims to focus on the reintegration of isolated people affected by leprosy into their communities.
Since 2011, the CIOMAL Foundation has implemented the “contact tracing” project with the support of its local partners. This consists of early detection of new reported cases of leprosy by going to former patients in order to screen those around them. If new cases of leprosy occur, they are treated as quickly as possible to prevent the bacillus from spreading to healthy people.
In 2019, the CIOMAL Foundation undertook 7 leprosy screening campaigns in the family and social circles of patients already identified, in the provinces of Tbong Kamom, Rattana Kiri, Kampong Cham, Preh Viaear, Siem Reap, Takeo and Kraie.