Caring Through The Coronavirus Crisis

Here in Scotland, and around the world, the Coronavirus is causing fear and distress to millions of people. In developing countries the measures which are required to halt the spread of the virus are leading to new fears about poverty and malnutrition. And they will make it harder to support people affected by leprosy as we would like to.

In response to the virus The Leprosy Mission around the world has responded quickly to meet the local needs of people affected by leprosy and the wider community.

Thank you for your quick response to support these activities to protect some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Thanks to you, hospitals have been able to prepare by purchasing PPE and other equipment that will protect staff and existing inpatients. They will also be ready to treat local people infected with the Covid-19 virus. In some countries the incidence of the virus is only beginning to ramp up now, it will be many months before this crisis is over.

Community health and rehabilitation teams have been visiting communities of people affected by leprosy to ensure they know about social distancing, proper handwashing, and wearing face masks. They have been delivering hand wash and masks to people who need them.

Working in partnership with churches and other local groups helps to spread health awareness messages to as wide an audience as possible, including people who may not have access to official government advice.

In the poorest communities, any form of social distancing will have an immediate impact on people’s ability to work, to earn and to eat. Food will run out very quickly.

Food parcels are being delivered to needy families and communities to help them survive periods of lockdown in their countries.

Self-help groups, and other support for people affected by leprosy which happens in groups has been suspended. But the network of established groups has provided a direct route to get help to families that need it.

In some places it is easier and more effective to give small grants which families can spend locally rather than sending bulky parcels of food and supplies over long distances to remote communities.

Thanks to you, thousands of families have been helped to stay safe and healthy.

Continuing Leprosy Treatment

Multi-Drug Therapy, the treatment for leprosy requires daily medication for 6 or 12 months, or sometimes longer. Normally these are distributed as monthly packs. To ensure that people can continue treatment and maintain social distancing, some patients are being given several months-worth of pills now.

Patients who might normally come to a hospital or clinic for a check up are having their appointment over the phone.

Thanks to you people affected by leprosy are still being helped and treated. And once this crisis is over, with your help, we will redouble efforts to spot and treat new people affected by leprosy who might be facing extra complications because they couldn’t be diagnosed during lock down.

Coronavirus is a serious and unexpected hurdle, but it will not stop us from making leprosy a thing of the past.

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25th May 2020

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Opinions are the authors own and not necessarily those of The Leprosy Mission Scotland.