I have just spent an inspirational week working in NLT’s Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre (LLHSC) in south-eastern Nepal. Reviewing and discussing our projects and working with the community outreach teams as they go about their daily work. I was also assisting Dr Sarah Jay as she collected survey responses for research assessing the group approach to empowerment.
The only downside to the trip was the icy cold fog that lingered most of the week preventing the sun from breaking through. The cold weather adds to the discomfort of village life especially were many families are still living under tarpaulin or straw. A short video giving a brief view of one of my days there, Vera.
The link between social standing and stigma elimination has long been recognised by Nepal Leprosy Trust. A year-long collaboration between Professor Orla Muldoon (UL), Dr Sarah Jay (UL), Psychology department and Mike Winterburn (Limerick Institute of Technology) will gauge the success of this synergy. Read more on this research project in our Summer newsletter here
MONSOON, hot, wet, muddy and an awesome Community Program.
Stretching out a compassionate hand to thousands of leprosy-affected, marginalised, untouchables (Dalits) and others in poverty and dire need.
The monsoon is here – it’s hot, wet and sticky with frequent heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning. Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital & Services Centre (LLSC) is on a hill and so is safe (occasional lightning strikes knock out our Internet). The river next to the hospital is flooded.
The monsoon is a joy for farmers in the right areas, as the monsoon is essential for rice planting and transplanting, especially because Nepal faces severe food shortages in many areas.
But in other areas the monsoon brings flooding and landslide disasters, as rivers flooded with heavy monsoonal rain, plus melting Himalayan snow and glaciers rush down the Himalayan slopes into valleys, into the flat Terai (where Lalgadh Hospital is situated) and then into India. Landslides are frequent and rip away earthquake-weakened slopes burying villages and destroying roads, and once in the flatlands the waters spread out and causing wide areas of inundation. Hundreds have already died and thousands been made homeless in just the last couple of weeks
At Lalgadh Hospital this is the busy season with increasing illness, water-borne diseases, and swelling patient numbers (500-600 per day). Despite the heat, rains, mud and flooding, and busyness, the 3 major arms of LLSC –
(a) HOSPITAL SERVICES,
(b) COMMUNITY OUTREACH Program,
(c) TRAINING/CAPACITY BUILDING,
carry with that what I’d call mighty perseverance!
LLSC’s COMMUNITY PROGRAM is totally awesome! It provides a spectacular outreach program for many thousands – from leprosy affected, marginalised, untouchable, stigmatised communities in the 4 Districts adjacent to LLSC (2.5 million people). Despite the monsoon rains, mud and flooding it continues its daily operation reaching out to difficult-to-reach poor and needy vlllages where leprosy and other diseases of poverty are still rampant. Extract from Dr Graeme. Lalgadh Hospital, August 19th 2016.