The Leprosy Mission working against the stigma this age-old disease
The Leprosy Mission are an international Christian development organisation that diagnoses, treats and offers specialist care, including reconstructive surgery, to leprosy patients.
Widely believed to be the world’s oldest disease, leprosy is also one of the most stigmatised. Fear and the misplaced belief that leprosy is a curse means that many hide the symptoms, delaying treatment and strengthening the disease’s grip which can lead to irreversible disabilities, including blindness. Sadly, leprosy has led to entire families being outcast, robbed of job opportunities, education, marriage prospects and dreams.
The Leprosy Mission work to transform and empower, recognising that leprosy is a disease of poverty. As well as providing healthcare, they offer rehabilitation, education, vocational training, small business loans, housing, fresh water supplies and sanitation to tens of thousands of people each year.
They provide a springboard to restored health, self-sufficiency and renewed hope. Their services are provided regardless of religion or ethnicity, promoting equality and social justice.
Leprosy Mission Regional Conference will be held in Cornwall
The charity’s regional conference will be held at St Mellanus Church, Mullion on Saturday 6th October from 2-4pm. It’s free to attend and everyone is welcome, with tea served at 2pm.
Says regional manager, Jenny Foster, “We are delighted to be coming to Mullion for this event to celebrate the contribution of local supporters and volunteers in churches across Cornwall and Devon, as well as raise awareness of the impacts of leprosy on the millions who still suffer. We will be sharing the work we do to bring physical, emotional and spiritual healing to leprosy sufferers in some of the poorest countries in the world, continuing the work of Christ. We are honoured to continue His work, healing people affected by leprosy and getting alongside them just as He did.”
If you would like to come along, it would be helpful if you could let the team know by emailing Jenny
The most surprising fact about Leprosy is that it is easily cured
Perhaps the most surprising fact about leprosy is that it is easily cured. It is the stigma that surrounds it that inhibits people from getting the early help they need to halt the disease.
Mildly infectious, leprosy is caused by a bacillus called Mycobacterium leprae – a relative of the TB bacillus. It starts by damaging the small nerves on the skin’s surface resulting in a loss of sensation. Without the gift of pain, everyday activities are fraught with danger. Unnoticed burns and ulcers can lead to permanent disability. Due to the inability to detect grit in the eye, blindness is a common consequence of leprosy.
Leprosy occurs where there is dirty water, bad nutrition and poor standards of living, meaning people’s immune systems are not strong and they are unable to fight the disease.
World Health Organisation figures reveal there are more than 200,000 new cases of leprosy diagnosed globally each year. Globally, there are more than three million people living with irreversible disabilities, including blindness, as a result of the late treatment of leprosy.
If you want to find out more about this age-old disease that still ravages and shames in our modern world, come along to St Mellanus Church in Mullion on Saturday October 6th. With better education, this disease could be eradicated and we all could help.
For further information about The Leprosy Mission have a look at their website.