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Leprosy – a disease with a delayed action timebomb which handicaps and excludes

French volunteers fundraise for 62nd World Leprosy Day

World Leprosy Day - collecting on the streets of Paris
World Leprosy Day - collecting on the streets of Paris

On the streets of French towns on this freezing January Sunday morning, young Order of Malta volunteers are collecting for leprosy sufferers – the 62nd World Leprosy Day. The disease hits children as well as adults; WHO registered over 200,000 new cases in 2013. The slow-growing bacteria can incubate from two to 20 years. It affects the skin, the nerves, the mucous membranes. If detected early, it can be treated with multidrug (MDT) therapy. But the debilitating disease is not yet eradicated. In many countries, local communities exclude leprosy victims. 

The Order’s Association in France, which established the MALTALEP scientific and medical studies for research into the disease, runs programmes for the treatment and prevention of leprosy in 20 medical centres in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

 The Order of Malta has cared for the victims of leprosy since its founding years in Jerusalem in the eleventh century.  

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Address of the Grand Master to the Order’s diplomatic corps

An annual tradition, it summarises the Order’s works around the world

The Order's diplomatic corps at The annual address of The Grand Master, January 2015
The Order's diplomatic corps at the annual address of The Grand Master, January 2015

Each year the Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, addresses the Order’s diplomatic corps. He thanks them for their important work around the world as a humanitarian ambassadorial network for the activities and support the Order gives to the poor, the sick, the lonely, to refugees, to the elderly, the disabled, disadvantaged children.

This year his address was prefaced by his condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Paris, which left 17 dead and a country shocked and mourning. 

Grand Master Fra' MatThew Festing addresses The diplomatic corps
Grand Master Fra' MatThew Festing addresses the diplomatic corps

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Grand Master on behalf of the whole Order of Malta sends deepest condolences to French President

Fra’ Matthew Festing expresses solidarity to the families and the people of France

Ordre de Malte France flies at half mast, 9 January 2015
Ordre de Malte France flag flies at half mast, 9 January 2015

The Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta Fra’ Matthew Festing has expressed his deepest condolences in a letter to President Hollande of France for the terrorist attack on the staff and offices of the weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo on 7th January. Twelve people lost their lives and others were left wounded. 

“In this tragic moment, I wish to express our sincere condolences, closeness and spiritual solidarity to the families of all the victims and to the people of France. The government of the Sovereign Order of Malta strongly condemns this horrific attack, firmly opposing all forms of violence, physical and moral,” states Fra’ Matthew Festing.

 In solidarity the offices of Ordre de Malte France in Paris are flying their flag at half-mast. 

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