Leprosy – a disease with a delayed action timebomb which handicaps and excludes
French volunteers fundraise for 62nd World Leprosy Day
Paris, 25 January 2015
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.