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Geoff Warne, our General Director, is currently in Nepal, and recently had the honour of joining the British Ambassador for Nepal, Mr John Rankin, in laying the foundation stone of Anandaban Hospital's new leprosy and orthopaedic ward. ... See MoreSee Less
Today British Ambassador for Nepal, Mr John Rankin came to Anandaban to inaugurate the new ward that is supported by Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission. Mr Geoff Warne, General Director of TLM International was also present during this occassion. They jointly laid the foundation stone for the new leprosy and orthopaedic ward to replace the one damaged by the recent earthquake.
On his second day in Nepal, Geoff Warne, TLM International General Director, shares about a girl he met at Anandaban Hospital:
“Today I was walking around the Anandaban Hospital wards with John Rankin, the UK High Commissioner to Nepal, and some of the Anandaban medical team. (A picture of Mr Rankin, recording a brief video for the High Commission’s communications, is attached).
I paused to talk to a 16-year old girl called Manika Kamat, pictured. She comes from Biratnagar in the far east of Nepal and was referred to Anandaban by Netherlands Leprosy Relief who are the ILEP (International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations) coordinators in that area. She had completed her multi-drug therapy treatment but there were complications. She has slightly misshapen fingers which you could just notice when she greeted us with Namaste. And Dr Indra (Medical Director) pointed out that she has a slight foot-drop on her right foot. She has been at Anandaban for a month now and it is hoped that both of these problems can be resolved without recourse to surgery. Surgical exercises are strengthening the muscles in the fingers, which had wasted somewhat as a result of leprosy, and that will help the finger-straightening. When walking she is wearing a special shoe with a rod that connects to a strap around the lower leg: this helps keep the foot up while the leg and foot muscles are being strengthened. If all this works, she may go home in the next few weeks.
Prospects? She’s in Year 11 at school but has not been able to continue studies while at Anandaban so she will be behind when she gets back home. She seems bright and told me she has a supportive family so her education and family prospects seem OK. As with most Nepali girls of her age, her parents will be thinking about her future marriage prospects. Our staff are confident that – whether by correction through these devices or if necessary by surgery – she will go back home without any noticeable marks of the disease. Hopefully too, as a well-educated city girl, she will go home to a community that doesn’t stigmatise her for having once had leprosy. As for her internal feelings, she told me she has had a talk with the Anandaban counsellor and she agreed that another talk will be useful.” ... See MoreSee Less
Geoff Warne, TLM International's General Director, is currently visiting our colleagues in Nepal for their 2015 General Assembly, which this year is also a key step in TLM Nepal’s 5-yearly official registration. Here are some of his key impressions from his first day there:
"Today (2 September) I stopped for an hour at TLM’s clinic at Patan in Kathmandu. The clinic’s main specialities are orthopaedics, dermatology and leprosy. TLM has a very good name for dermatology (and of course, leprosy) and increasingly for orthopaedics. Orthopaedic cases are often referred to Anandaban Hospital for surgery. On this day, there were also a dozen leprosy-affected people whose houses had been badly damaged or destroyed in the earthquakes. These people had missed out in the earlier distribution of relief funds and were now coming for their share. Each was given Rs 15,000 (just under £100) and signed for it. Around two-thirds were either illiterate or their hands were so badly damaged by leprosy that they were unable to sign so they put their inked thumb-print – or in some cases, the print of the end of a stump – in the register to show they’d received the money.
Several came from around Dhulikhel, in the Kavri district in the Kathmandu valley. There had been severe damage there. Two of the people in the group had been forced to leave their land completely as it was not considered safe to rebuild on. They are housed in temporary camps.
The picture is of Khum Prasad who came in by bus from Dhulikhel. He’d had treatment for leprosy at Anandaban 45 years ago, when he was eleven. Why had he come in to the clinic today? Simple, he explained: he’d heard there was money on offer, and now here he was. He briefly told his story. His treatment period at Anandaban had been quite long (it was before the multi-drug therapy era) so to occupy him the staff had given him some training in how to dress ulcers and basic skills of that kind. He must have been a bright boy because he said that he’d even been offered a chance for study overseas but he hadn’t taken that up. Now he was well settled and there wasn’t any obvious sign of leprosy on his hands. But we know from the normal experience of people who were treated for leprosy in those early years that he has had to combat stigmatising attitudes from people for a lot of his life. Right now he presents as a good-humoured, articulate man with a tendency to wisecracks, who finds that occasionally in life a history of leprosy is actually an advantage." ... See MoreSee Less
This summer, you gave, you volunteered, you went barefoot, you held events and most importantly - you prayed - all for our Feet First campaign. Together, you did something amazing! We have never known a response like it. Thanks to you and the doubling from the government’s UK Aid Match scheme, thousands of people living with the effects of leprosy in Mozambique will receive practical support and care to stop leprosy in its tracks. Watch this space for more news on Mozambique and what your gifts will be doing there!