Stories written by Stella Paul

“Window of Opportunity to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change is Fast Shrinking”

“The window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic climate change is fast shrinking,” executive director of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Yannick Glemarec, tells IPS.

Global Climate Change Investment Heavily Tilted Towards Mitigation and Low on Adaptation

Good news: the graph depicting climate investments has been steadily increasing. Climbing from the 2012 figure of $360 billion in climate investments across the world to close to $600 billion currently.

How a Bangladesh Non Profit for Leprosy Made its Members Completely Self-Sufficient

The 20th International Leprosy Congress just wrapped up in Manila, Philippines last week. Alongside policy makers, diplomats, medical researchers, doctors, donors and academics, several Hansen's disease-affected people’s organisations also participated in the 3-day congress that was co-sponsored by The Nippon Foundation (TNF) and Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF).

Calls for Reform, Research and Reorganisation in Leprosy Healthcare

Rachna Kumari of Munger in Eastern India’s Bihar state is not yet 30. But she's already been married at 18, abandoned by her husband after she was diagnosed with leprosy and become an award-winning advocate of the disease. She has traversed a long road. And this week she undertook another step in her journey to fly to Manila, Philippines, as a delegate at the 20th International Leprosy Congress (ILC).

‘Conference Emphasises Need for Partnerships to Create a World Without Leprosy’

Forty years ago, Yohei Sasakawa saw his father moved to tears after meeting and witnessing the suffering of people affected by leprosy – also known as Hansen’s disease. Not only did the patients have a physical illness, but they also suffered from social exclusion and discrimination. It made the young Sasakawa vow to work for the elimination of leprosy from the world – just as his father had been doing.

‘Join Me on this Journey’ to Eliminate Leprosy – WHO Ambassador

Octogenarian Yohei Sasakawa has travelled to more than 90 countries across the globe; from areas of conflict, to the jungles of Brazil, shaking hands, hugging and washing the feet of Hansen’s disease-affected people. His message is simple: Stop stigmatisation and eliminate the disease.

Litigation, a Mechanism to Ensure Justice and End Stigma for Hansen’s Disease

Professor Ai Kurosaka remembers the day she first interacted with a person affected by Hansen’s disease. It was 2003 and Kurosaka, then a graduate student of sociology at the Saitama University in Japan, had been assigned to interview ex-patients and their family members to document what kind of discrimination they faced. It was a very difficult task because nobody wanted to speak or identify themselves.

First Global Forum of Leprosy-Affected People’s Organisations Kicks off in Manila

Being part of a platform where leprosy-affected people from all over the world can freely interact, exchange and share opinions, ideas, experiences and strategies was always something Tasfaye Tadesse dreamt of.

A Global Forum to Encourage Dialogue and Share Solutions

Professor Takahiro Nanri is the executive director of the Sasakawa Health Foundation, co-organiser of the Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which will take place from Sept. 7 to 10 in the Philippines.

How India’s Indigenous Female Forest Dwellers Feel about Owning Their Own Land

Kumaribai Jamkatan, 51, has been fighting for women’s land rights since 1987. Though the constitution of India grants equal rights to men and women, women first started to stake their claim for formal ownership of land only after 2005–the year the government accorded legal rights to daughters to be co-owners of family-owned land.

In the Midst of Conflict, India’s Indigenous Female Forest Dwellers Own their Land

Jam Bai, an Indigenous farmer from Korchi village in western India, is a woman in hurry. After two months of waiting, the rains have finally come and the rice saplings for her paddy fields must be sown this week while the land is still soft.

India’s Indigenous Women Assert their Land Rights

Korchi a village of 3,256 people, most of whom are small and marginal farmers belonging to Gondi and Kawar indigenous communities, lies about 750 kilometres east of Mumbai, India. Here, women like Jam Bai, a 53-year-old indigenous farmer, have been leading a ground movement for years to own land.

Q&A: 607 Island Atolls Means it’s Hard to Distribute Leprosy Healthcare to All Micronesians

During his 22-year career in the health sector, Marcus Samo has seen the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) suffer from an increased burden of disease while at the same time the resources to address them have either remained the same or decreased.

Missing Data & Inefficient Drug Distribution Tops List of Micronesia’s Leprosy Challenges

It’s a good day for Dexter, a 25-year-old fisherman from Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. He’s just been told that he is cured of leprosy.

As Marshall Islands Integrates Healthcare Services, Experts Offer a Word of Caution

In Jack Niedenthal’s office in Majuro, there is an ominous reminder of the dark history of the Marshall Islands—once the site for dozens of nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1962. But it also provides a strong message about the future of island nation.

Greater Skills Equals Greater Ability to Combat Leprosy

It’s a Friday morning and Dr. Ken Jetton, the only doctor who treats leprosy in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, is seeing a patient recently cured of the disease.

Increasing Leprosy Cases in Micronesia Points to Better Detection and Awareness

Elizabeth Keller is one of the most senior health officials in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). She is the current acting chief of Public Health and also the head of the leprosy programme in the island nation’s capital of Pohnpei.

Financial Hurdles to Eliminating Leprosy in Micronesia

Mayleen Ekiek has been working with the Department of Health in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) for 12 years now. She is the head of the National Leprosy Programme in the Pacific island nation, which still remains one of three, along with the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, that is yet to eliminate leprosy.

“Don’t Tell My Husband I Have Leprosy”: Social Stigma Silences Marshall Islands’ Women

Meretha Pierson has been a nurse for the past seven years, working in the government-run leprosy clinic in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. Her patients come in all ages, from different economic backgrounds and different professions. But, aside from their diagnosis, they all have something else in common: everyone wants to keep their illness a secret.

Q&A: Why Treating Leprosy as a Special Disease Violates the Rights of the Person Affected by It

His multiple awards and degrees aside, Dr. Arturo Cunanan is known as a people’s doctor; one who has profound belief in the human rights of every person affected by Hansen’s disease, commonly known as leprosy.

Island Women Take the Lead in Peatland Restoration

Eluminada Roca has lived all her life next to the  Leyte Sab-a Basin peatlands. The grandmother from of San Isidro village in Philippines’ Leyte island grew up looking at the green hills that feed water to the peatland, she harvested tikog—a peatland grass to weave mats—and ate the delicious fish that was once in abundant in the waters. But today, the land is losing its water, the grass is disappearing and the fish stock has drastically decreased.

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