Mission of the month

The Leprosy Mission

There are presently over three million people suffering from leprosy-related disabilities.  A new case is diagnosed every two minutes and more than 200,000 new cases were diagnosed globally in 2016 - more than 60 per cent of which were in India.

Sadly, despite continuing laboratory research, there is still no specific vaccine against leprosy.  However, a cure in the form of multi drug therapy (MDT), which has been freely available since 1982, will, within a week of commencement of treatment, prevent patients from spreading the disease.  Treatment with MDT in the early stages of leprosy will avert disabilities including possible blindness and paralysis, but early diagnosis and treatment is essential and many sufferers are slow to seek treatment.

The consequences of the disease can be devastating for those who go undiagnosed and untreated.  Fear and stigma associated with the disease can lead to social exclusion which can be more damaging than the physical symptoms.

Discrimination against people affected by leprosy continues and only recently in 2018 a Bill was passed in India amending the law by striking out leprosy as a ground for divorce.

The Leprosy Mission, founded in 1874, is a leading international Christian organisation transforming and empowering the lives of people affected by leprosy.  It is a charity that has been supported by St Mary's for many years.  Further information is available from the display at the back of the church throughout January and you can find out more at  www.leprosymission.org.uk