All across Pakistan, MALC is sowing fields originally ploughed for Leprosy control, now ready for new crops. The harvest may not be the same all over Pakistan, but it is still doing the job of meeting the needs of poor people, neglected areas and deprived communities.
MALC is all about learning from our past and charting a new course for the future. We realize that merely providing quality service is not enough. To that end we have a Continuous Quality Improvement Plan to prove that we are achieving specific goals and outcomes. The strength of the programme is undisputed:
• A 50 years’ record of successful Leprosy Control.
• A professionally competent and motivated team of paramedicals, working all over Pakistan.
• Mobility and a high level of acceptance by the people
• A Private Public Partnership model which has saved the programme from major financial crises, and growing financial support in Pakistan.
• Reliable recording and reporting, administratively as well as medically
• Transparent financial systems.
• The Paramedicals, the mainstay of the programme, have been constantly re-trained and kept up to date with the new developments, thus they are well suited to open a new chapter in the history of the programme.
New Developments are:
Integration of Leprosy in General Health: We finally started the journey along the road. The Government fully owns the Leprosy Elimination Programme. The untiring health education efforts are bearing fruit. During World Leprosy Day, the Medical Officers in Khairpur organized a walk in favour of their brothers and sisters affected by Leprosy, and in Karachi, Sindh Medical Hospital taking a lead conducted a seminar on Leprosy.
On the other end of the development, in Sindh interior, the Leprosy team has got some free time. We can now listen more openly when the people of the formerly Leprosy affected areas are sharing their concerns with us: school facilities for their children. We do help, and do it fast and simple: a straw hut, an abandoned room which we clean up, darris on the floor – and then the most important step: finding a competent teacher, and children are brought on the way of sharing in the cultural treasures of Pakistan, of mankind - writing, reading, forming their own opinion, counting.
In the Hindu community in Adamgoth Karachi, in Hyderabad, in Mirpur Mathelo, Ranikot, the Afghan Camp in Gadap – where we have controlled Leprosy, we are setting now to control illiteracy in the near future, too.
In the Hospital in Karachi, the hungry, critically underfed babies are waking up to new life.
In Badin, Haris are earning a just wage in the kiln the Leprosy Technician started.
In Karachi, a group of co-workers, who have kept their family spirit and their concern for the underprivileged, making it all possible.
Keeping all these exciting developments in mind, there seems that the future of the Leprosy programme will be in the Community Development, a development which is fully supported by the operational level. We shall doubtlessly face considerable challenges before the Leprosy cadre has found its appropriate place in the health services, but with the potential of the group, it will happen.
Our journey to reach out to the most vulnerable in our community, i.e. women and children will continue to provide much needed services to them.
Programme Goals and Objectives:
Leprosy elimination is successfully being achieved. However, elimination is not the end of Leprosy. There are many challenges in terms of physical and social rehabilitation, which will go on even in the post elimination phase. Prolonged and variable incubation periods of the disease demands the presence of Leprosy workers in the communities for the next 3 to 4 decades to ensure early detection of Leprosy patients before deformity has set in.
Tuberculosis Control – We have controlled Leprosy, so why should we not control TB, too. The voice of a Leprosy technician truly reflects MALC, after controlling Leprosy has taken on TB becoming the partner of the National TB Control Programme. All 157 Leprosy centres are providing free diagnostic and treatment facilities aiming at controlling TB as well along with Leprosy elimination which is the core of all activities.
In Blindness Control free eye surgical camps in remote and underserved areas, free out patient consultations and surgeries at base hospitals Karachi, Gwadar, Turbat, and Bagh, and school screening and health education in Leprosy endemic areas by our trained Leprosy-Ophthalmic technicians will be continued.