WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia has just released an updated special report entitled “Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy.” The most important word in that title is “progress.” Progress suggests that there is hope for eliminating leprosy. And, there is.
The GFA report, an addendum to 2019’s “Leprosy: Misunderstandings and Stigma Keep it Alive,” maintains that the elimination of leprosy depends upon victory along two main battlefronts: prevention and eliminating centuries-old prejudices.
Despite the lengthy and the sometimes seemingly futile battle against the disease, the GFA report raises a long-awaited ray of hope when it says,
“Global leprosy-elimination leaders are making exciting advances, both medically and socially, that are worth noting.”
Here are 9 valid reasons that make that statement so significant.
- Leprosy is curable. Multi-drug therapy (MDT) has been successful in curing victims of the disease since 1980.
- The World Health Organization provides the MDT free of charge in a program that has been underwritten by the Nippon Foundation and Novartis since 1995.
- Leprosy ceased being considered a public health problem by definition on a global basis in 2000 (when the disease infected fewer than one person per 10,000).
- Since 2000, more than 16 million patients have been effectively treated with MDT.
- Appropriate antibiotic treatment can prevent leprosy from spreading to those who come into contact with a patient.
- Prevention is on the horizon. A new medication, rifampicin, has been proven in clinical trials to reduce the risk of developing leprosy by as much as 60 percent.
- The World Health Organization advocates a program of “contact tracing.” Contact tracing is similar to the “double ring” strategy used to contain Ebola epidemics in Africa. Health workers attempt to identify people who have been in proximity to recent victims within the past 10 years, then take action to help them avoid contracting the debilitating disease.
That’s the medical side.
On the social side, The Himalayan Times advises that we need to dispel the myths about leprosy to reduce the stigma and discrimination that so many victims unnecessarily endure. Our goal should be to create “a social environment where people with leprosy can live with harmony and dignity.” The publication advocates that it is time to change our mentality regarding leprosy awareness and intervention at all levels.
- That is precisely what GFA and other FBO workers have been doing in South Asia, where leprosy victims are numerous. GFA-supported workers ministered in the name of Jesus to residents of more than 1,200 slums and leper colonies in 2018 alone.
- GFA and like-minded ministries are committed to helping people understand leprosy in the South Asian countries where it has been so misunderstood.
Gospel for Asia and other like-minded agencies are seeing exciting, new advances in the fight against leprosy. The battle is not yet over, but we press on toward prevention as we care for those already afflicted.
Be sure to read our updated Special Report, “Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy.”
- Pray for GFA workers serving in South Asia’s leper colonies.
- Pray for the people who are afflicted with the disease.
- Pray for understanding and compassion from their loved ones.
- Pray for those who live as outcasts, that they would find comfort in Jesus.
- Pray for GFA’s Sister of Compassion, pastors, and other workers as they care for those infected by this ravaging disease.
To read more news on Leprosy on Missions Box, go here.
- GFA, Leprosy: Misunderstandings and Stigma Keep It Alive
- GFA, Progress in the Fight Against Leprosy
- GFA, Leprosy Ministry
- World Health Organization, Message for World Leprosy Day 2020
- Health Affairs, One Step Closer To Ending Leprosy
- The Himalayan Times, Movement against leprosy: End discrimination
- B.jehle (CC BY-SA 3.0)