Last year, we funded a training course for health workers in the outlying districts to enable them to recognise and treat leprosy.
However, our outreach work goes beyond this. When health workers go to villages where people who have had leprosy are living with their families, they also work on preventing disability.
Known as ‘Prevention of Disability’ (PoD) visits, the health visitor reminds people to wear sunglasses to reduce the risk of cataract and eye infections (if the nerve which supplies the eyelid is affected, some people who are living with leprosy are not able to blink so this puts them more at risk of infection ).
People are also taught skin care for their hands and feet to reduce the risk of ulcers, and are given apposite shoes to help with any disability.
Health visitors also advise on basic safety measures such as always wearing shoes and using a cloth to lift pans from the cooking stove as they will not feel it’s hot – this reduces the risk of burns and further hand injury.
Earlier this year, PoD visits were carried out on two routes of Muhoro and Bungu where 46 patients were seen.
Also, earlier this year five new cases of leprosy were diagnosed, and two people had relapses. Our shoemaker made 26 pairs of shoes and five pairs were repaired.
We were delighted to hear supervision was given in health facilities in Ndundu nyikanza, Kilimani, Kibiti, Bungu and Jaribu Mpakani.