ONTARIO, CANADA — As COVID-19 deaths continue to grow exponentially in India, one Canadian NGO is stepping up to help that country’s most vulnerable people access the life-saving jab. Effect Hope is a Canadian Christian global health organization that supports people with neglected tropical diseases. Effect Hope will help Indians affected by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF), diseases that cause discrimination and stigma, gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the situation is dire for all, hundreds of thousands of people with leprosy, LF, and associated disabilities face severe disparities in accessing health care. Therefore, Effect Hope will partner with Lepra UK and Lepra India to help as many as possible receive transportation to and from a vaccine site and both doses of the vaccine.
“As followers of Jesus, our mission is to bring hope and restoration to people affected by neglected tropical diseases like leprosy,” said Kim Evans, CEO of Effect Hope. “We want to ensure that these vulnerable people are not forgotten in the race to get vaccines out. It’s simply the right thing to do. We cannot stand by and watch them die.”
Abdul Nasar, a 50-year-old leprosy patient, has been living with leprosy for 10 years and has a disability. He travelled to his nearest government hospital and waited there for three days. He was turned away. Abdul says, “They want us to register on the government portal, but I cannot understand it. I am afraid. I am worried I will not receive my vaccination.”
“People with diseases like leprosy and LF face discrimination and stigma in their daily life. It’s clear that they will come upon many barriers as a billion adults clamor for vaccines. Marginalized people, who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections, will be at the back of the line unless they receive support,” explained Maneesh Phillip, Director of International Programs for Effect Hope, “Lives are at stake.”
The program launched this past weekend, beginning with a community where 80 per cent of the residents are affected by leprosy and LF.
It only costs $35 per person for both doses of the vaccine and safe transportation to and from the vaccination site. There is an urgent need for funding to reach as many as possible.
The organization is inviting Canadians to reach out and support this special initiative by visiting www.effecthope.org/covid-vax.
CONTACT: Anjay Nirula, 416-459-9198, [email protected]
Source: Christian News Wire, Canadian Christian Organization to Help Prevent COVID-19 Deaths Among India’s Most Vulnerable