christmas appeal 2023
This Christmas, we need your help urgently to save people with leprosy from lifelong disabilities
My name is Sister Katulla. I work as a staff nurse at Dhanjuri Leprosy Centre in Dinajpur, northern Bangladesh. Today, I am speaking on behalf of St Francis Leprosy Guild - a charity which is working towards a leprosy free world, in partnership with centres like ours.
Today, I want to ask if you will send a donation of £30 to St Francis Leprosy Guild to help us find and treat people with leprosy as quickly as possible - before they develop disabilities and suffer the stigma that destroys lives. Your gift could enable six families living in hard-to-reach areas to be screened for leprosy and receive immediate treatment if they are diagnosed with the disease."
Your support this Christmas can be the difference for people that I care for every day; people like Janoki. She caught leprosy when she was a child but it was undiagnosed for years. The nerve damage it caused meant her feet began to claw, eventually making it impossible for her to walk or stand."
Janoki married and had children during the early stages of the disease. But as her symptoms worsened and she became increasingly disabled, Janoki’s husband and his relatives would beat her because they believed she brought shame on the family. She told us that if it hadn’t been for her son and daughter, she would have taken her own life.
Janoki’s life didn’t have to be this way if only she’d been diagnosed and treated for leprosy a soon as her first symptoms appeared – and that’s why we are in urgent need of your donation today. Your gift will support an Active Case-Finding project that we’re running with St Francis Leprosy Guild. You will help us to find, diagnose and treat people with leprosy, before it’s too late.
Leprosy can be cured with Multidrug Therapy. It is usually prescribed as a six to twelve month course of medicine which is provided at no cost to the patient. The sooner the patients are diagnosed and receive MDT, the better their outcomes will be. As well as treating people with leprosy, our team traces and monitors their contacts to prevent the disease from spreading.
Many of the people who are at risk live many miles from Dhanjuri Leprosy Centre. They have no transport and little access to affordable healthcare. Your gift today will enable us to reach out and care for them in their communities.
Our Active Case-Finding team of doctors, nurses and trained volunteers use bicycles or a motorcycle to visit impoverished communities where we know leprosy is endemic.
People who live in impoverished communities many miles from Dhanjuri have no transport to get to the centre and little access to healthcare. Members of our Active Case-Finding team visit them in their own homes to raise awareness of leprosy and examine people for early symptoms. Those who are diagnosed receive treatment with MDT.
The team goes door-to-door, talking about leprosy and how to spot its tell-tale signs. The team conducts skin examinations to find anyone with early symptoms so they can be treated immediately. The treatment, known as Multidrug Therapy (MDT) cures leprosy before it causes any lasting damage, and it stops it from spreading to others. We also trace and monitor anyone's contacts for signs of leprosy, so we can stop it in its tracks.
This approach is ongoing painstaking work so I hope and pray that you can send a donation to help this Christmas. Your gift to SFLG will enable us to end leprosy and the life-changing disabilities it causes, one community at a time.
Joyanty had skin patches which are an early sign of leprosy. She had no idea what was causing them and she wasn't receiving any medical care. Our Active Case-Finding team diagnosed Joyanty with leprosy just three months after the symptoms first appeared and she is now receiving treatment. This young mother will be cured of the disease. She can continue to live her life without fear of developing disabilities of suffering any stigma.
For nurses like me, it’s so rewarding to know we reached Joyanty soon enough to stop leprosy in its tracks. Instead of her life being gradually destroyed by the disease, she can remain independent, help provide for her family and care for her young children. She still has a bright future ahead of her.
With your help today, we can make sure that many more people have stories that end as happily as Joyanty’s. Together, we can cure them of leprosy, prevent disabilities and stop this terrible disease from spreading - and one day soon, we will beat leprosy for good.
Thank you for sparing the time to read my letter and for your kind support today. I wish you and your family good health and happiness and a very Merry Christmas.
St Francis Leprosy Guild (SFLG) is playing its part in the global effort to achieve a leprosy free world. We urgently need your support to find, diagnose and treat people with leprosy much sooner. This approach will help prevent life-changing disabilities and stop the disease from spreading. Since 2021, we have launched nine Active Case-Finding projects, working with partners like Dhanjuri Leprosy Centre in Bangladesh and other centres in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Uganda.