ALO, an organization of persons affected by leprosy and related disability, introduced the ‘Digital Ulcer Care Service’ for patients with leprosy complications to meet their urgent needs during the Covid-19 pandemic in Nilphamari on Thursday.
Nilphamari Kushta O Sadharon Protibondi Unnoyon Sangstha, an organization of leprosy & general persons with disabilities, received an android mobile phone from ALO.
On the first day of the activities, Dr Benjamin Jewel Rozario, RMO, The Leprosy Mission International-Bangladesh, started the digital ulcer care service through a video call over the internet.
Earlier on Tuesday, the service was launched for patients with leprosy complications in Thakurgaon.
Md Khalilur Rahman, vice president, ALO, said the initiative has been taken with financial assistance from The Sasakawa Health Foundation.
Besides digital ulcer care service, ALO has been distributing disinfectant soaps and face masks and other health safety equipment to the patients affected by leprosy.
Attending the event, some patients with leprosy complications, thanked ALO and The Sasakawa Health Foundation for standing by them during this crisis.
Patients with leprosy complications will call dedicated doctors at DBLM Hospital in Nilphamari when needed over video call using relevant mobile apps.
Who represent ALO?
ALO, a national level organization of persons affected by leprosy and disability as well as the disadvantaged community in Bangladesh, was established in 2014 and was registered under the Society Act of Bangladesh Government in 2019.
ALO represents about 89 federations and more than 1500 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) formed with about 17,000 members mostly affected by leprosy, persons with disability (due to leprosy and beyond leprosy) and persons from other marginalized communities in 22 districts across Bangladesh.
ALO has been working to ensure rights and entitlements, economic and sustainable development of persons affected by leprosy, persons with disability including disadvantaged people in Bangladesh.
Leprosy in Bangladesh
The National Leprosy Programme Bangladesh (NLPB) data shows, a total of 3,976 new leprosy cases were detected in 2015; 3,001 cases in 2016; 3,754 cases in 2017; 3,729 cases in 2018 and 3,638 people were diagnosed with leprosy in 2019 in Bangladesh.
Among the new leprosy cases in 2019, altogether 252 people were diagnosed with leprosy disability.
NLPB data shows a total of 2,26,711 leprosy cases were detected in between 1985 and 2019 and 26,479 people were found with leprosy-related disabilities in between 1985 and 2015 in in Bangladesh.
Along with the global population, persons affected by leprosy and leprosy-related disability including their families as well as the disadvantaged community in Bangladesh, have been bearing the brunt of Covid-19 pandemic for over eight months.
The crises related to livelihood, social stigma, medical services including medicine supply for persons affected by leprosy, were intensified during the pandemic.
Saskawa Health Foundation (SHF)
Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF) was established by Ryoichi Sasakawa, the founding chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and Professor Morizo Ishidate in 1974.
SHF was introduced across the globe with the goal of eradicating Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, from the world.
Mr. Ryoichi Sasakawa (1899-1995) served as SHF’s first President, and Professor Morizo Ishidate (1901-1996), known as the father of chemotherapy for Hansen’s disease in Japan, who became SHF’s first Chair.
SHF’s vision is ‘Better Health and Dignity for All’. Striving to enrich the physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of people whoever they are, wherever they are and whatever their circumstances and helping them to maintain their dignity as human beings.