Another year has passed – a year with much worry and suffering and defiant and determent continuation of our service – a year in which Pakistan and with it Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre has struggled amidst all law and order problems, refusing to lose hope.
Leprosy remained controlled; the last remaining Leprosy problems are further decreasing, and the first signs of Leprosy elimination are visible:
• Majority of cured patients are comprehensively rehabilitated,
• An increasing number of new patients are being diagnosed in the first stage, before lasting deformities have developed (deformity rate below 10%), similarly the diagnostic delay has decreased, though here, still considerable work has to be done.
As much as we welcome these developments, one question arises: How should we utilize our remaining facilities, the infrastructure, the knowledge of our professional staff? Seeing all the unmet needs in Pakistan, the services not yet rendered, the shortage of trained and motivated manpower leaves us with the conviction that Leprosy control is not the last calling. Especially as Leprosy patients are suffering from disabilities which are not cured with simple Anti Leprosy Medication, and in the same area where they are living, hundreds of other patients are suffering from general disability as well: children, old people, and victims of street accidents. It was only logical to extend our disability service to this general disabled people and try to improve their quality of life as well – enabling them to move, to communicate, and to find a meaning in their lives.
Thus, “CBR” = Community-based Rehabilitation has developed as the second calling of MALC, bringing relief and happiness to hundreds of disabled patients.
I only have to go to Mallah Niaz in Thatta district to see how life has changed.
My message, my prayer and my request of last year has taken concrete shape.
May MALC do for the disabled patients what it did for the Leprosy patients – change their life from misery to meaning and happiness.
Dr. Ruth Pfau, M.D.,