Stories written by Stella Paul

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.

A Disease as Old as Time – Eliminated but Not Eradicated

As the Executive Director of Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation (SMHF), Takahiro Nanri has been working on the issue of leprosy since 2014. Over the past few years, he has traveled across the world visiting the large number of leprosy projects that SMHF has been supporting and meeting dozens of organisations led by leprosy-affected people.

Q&A: Important to Treat Anyone Suffering from Leprosy as an Equal Individual

Discrimination against women who are affected by leprosy or Hansen's Disease is a harsh reality, says Alice Cruz is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members.

Q&A: Leprosy-affected People Live Not at the Bottom, but Outside the Social Pyramid

Takahiro Nanri is the Executive Director of Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation which has been supporting the global fight against leprosy for almost five decades. Since 2014, Nanri has been leading the foundation’s leprosy projects across the world and has deep insights into the challenges faced by the people affected by leprosy as well as the organisations that work with them.

Living with Leprosy on the Climate-Vulnerable Kiribati Island Atolls

Kurarenga Kaitire lives in Kiribati—one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations. Already vulnerable to nature, the 29-year-old mother of five has faced a series of vulnerabilities over the past decade, including facing social stigma and domestic abuse.

Building Successful Social Enterprises

Marie Lisa Dacanay is the president of Manila–based Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia. With 20 years of experience in development management, social entrepreneurship and enterprise development, Dacanay is also a university professor and an acclaimed author with several books on social entrepreneurship in Asia.

Q& A: We Need a Holistic Approach to Eradicate Leprosy

Dr. Maria Francia Laxamana is the Assistant Secretary in the Philippines ministry of health. With nearly two decades of  work both as a senior government official and also as an expert in several non-government organisations, Laxamana has deep insight into the issue of leprosy in this Southeast Asian nation and the challenges faced by those who are affected by the disease.

A Leprosy-free Philippines by 2020?

Dr Maria Francia Laxamana, assistant secretary of health in the Department of Health, Philippines outlines her recommendations for a leprosy country by 2020.

First Asian Leprosy Assembly Calls for Greater Social Inclusion for the Affected

Growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, Amar Bahadur Timalsina wasn’t allowed to attend school as a young boy because he was affected by leprosy. But decades later, after treatment and being able to re-integrate into his community, the boy who was once denied an education is now inspiringly the principal of a school of 400 students.

Turning Mangrove Trees into Sustainable Assets for Myanmar

In 2015, Worldview International Foundation began a mangrove restoration project, planting saplings of the trees on about 121 hectares of land in Myanmar’s Ayyerwady region.

Sprouting Mangroves Restore Hopes in Coastal Myanmar

Htay Aung is having a moment. The 63-year-old retired professor of Marine Science sits at the foot of a Buddha statue atop a hill on Shwe Thaung Yan sub township, in Myanmar's Ayyerwady region, almost in meditation. Below him, a vast thicket of mangrove glistens in the gold of a setting sun. For Aung, this stretch of mangroves—known as the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park—is a symbol of joy, hope and all things good.

Amidst Rising Hunger, BCFN Forum to Promote Food Sustainability

As 2018 nears its end, the world faces a new wave of food insecurity with the level of hunger being on the rise globally. A record 821 million people are facing chronic food deprivation – a sharp rise from 804 million figure in 2016 - said a report published by the UNFAO earlier this year. Along with rising hunger, food security has declined across Africa and South America while undernourishment is on the rise again in Asia, said the report which attributed the changing scenario to climate-related changes, adverse economic conditions and conflict. With this alarming picture as the backdrop, the 9th Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) International Forum on Food and Nutrition in Milan is all set to take off on November 27.

Q&A: Ready to Help India Access Climate Finance for a Greener Economy

Even in remote and faraway places such as Andamans and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, islands off the coast of India, the government is keen to provide electricity across the entire country.

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