2011 was a good year – not necessarily an easy one, but finally for MAC, it turned out well. The country is in difficulties, so we are suffering with the people: the countless families who do not know how to cope with the rising living cost – the violence in Karachi, in Lyari, in the Karakorum.
Nevertheless, we are deeply grateful, that MALC kept to its calling: to serve people who have nobody else to turn to, marginalized, forgotten, ostracized.
And that the team themselves kept an island of peace.
Professionally has been the largest gain: in addition to the rehabilitation of the flood victims, a well established activity by now, we are returning to our core activities: Leprosy Elimination, and Community Empowerment.
The end of 2011 saw the evaluation of the first three years of Leprosy integration – an unexpectedly urgent undertaking. The Government has not woken up to their responsibility – admittedly, there are more pressing health needs than the remaining small Leprosy problem! So we have to try it once again, and prevent that it grows again to the size of a “public health problem”. In many areas, patients have suffered a setback. In other areas the crisis has served as a call for renewed efforts – with impressive gains in the first quarter of 2012.
Many of the Leprosy Technicians, feeling stifled by the lack of interest from the official quarters, have found their own ways to help the community:
- in Uthal in Baluchistan, two Technicians are facilitating cataract extractions, and the community is helping financially those patients who can not afford the operation financially;
- in Panjgur in Baluchistan Leprosy has been integrated to the point that the general health services have taken over good practices from the Leprosy service (ulcer care) for their diabetes treatment,
- in Pasni at the Makran coast, the Leprosy Technician is offering house call facilities, and
- in all Centres services for skin patients are available which otherwise are not offered in the Government Health Services.
To guarantee professional excellence, we have added “Resource Teams” to monitor the operations. MALC is arranging again quarterly target meetings. With this support, we hope that the Government is gradually growing into an acceptable delivery system for Leprosy patients.
The next step is Community Empowerment. Unless the community “owns” their Leprosy elimination programme and identifies each and every suspect themselves, we shall never be able to stamp this disease out.
And in this process, we shall not only tackle Leprosy, the most common diseases will be eliminated in the same way as well: Tuberculosis – preventable blindness, mother and child mortality …
Similar attention will be paid to primary education of children, and health awareness of the community.
We do hope and pray that under the leadership of our new CEO, Mr.Lobo, we shall be able to continue and further develop our services inspite of all the discouragement our people are going through. He knows the provinces and those who are in the forefront of the battle, from personal experiences, and we feel already the warmth and new interest, embracing the entire of Pakistan.
May God continue to shower his blessings on the work and the workers!
Dr. Ruth Pfau,
M.D., D.Sc., NQA