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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

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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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.