Stronger government action to fight stigma and discrimination, more government funding for health and non-health support programmes, and a larger role for people’s organisations in developing policy towards Hansen's disease treatment and eradication are still needed for eliminating the disease.
The Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which was attended by members of people’s organisations from 23 different countries, wrapped up in Manila, Philippines, today Sept. 10 after four days of discussion and deliberation.
The main outcome was a set of recommendations, which included participants stating that those affected by the disease should have more inclusive roles in the global campaign against leprosy.
Increasing awareness of the continuing existence of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) is critical to sustaining effective public health efforts against the disease, eliminating the social stigma associated with it, and halting its transmission.
Organisations supporting people affected by Hansen’s disease (leprosy) have social rather than capitalist aims, but they need to take a business-minded approach to their work if they wish to be sustainable, experts at a global conference in Manila, Philippines said.
Organisations of people affected by Hansen’s Disease or leprosy agree that a global network of volunteer groups is key to eradicating the disease, but concrete steps need to be taken to move the idea from an often-discussed concept to a reality.
Organisations of people affected by leprosy in Asia have agreed to form a regional-level secretariat to support national advocacies and represent their collective agenda at a world conference to be held later this year.
The tragic tale of Thobias Alexander Manas’s personal experience with leprosy is all too typical.
Strengthening the participation of persons affected by leprosy, or SPP, has proven to be an effective strategy in reaching out to often isolated sufferers in local communities throughout Asia. A significant challenge to civil society organisations, however, is finding enough management talent to maintain and expand the programmes.
Jennifer Quimno could put anyone at ease. So when she travels across the Philippines as part of peer to peer programme that helps identify new leprosy cases, people generally allow her to examine them.
The stubborn challenge of diagnosis and treatment of leprosy among difficult to reach populations in the Philippines should soon become easier with the rollout of a mobile app connecting field health workers with physicians and clinics.