Since 24 March, India, with a population of 1.3 billion, has also been "closed" due to the coronavirus outbreak. The country is also home to around 60% of the world's leprosy patients. Livelihoods for the masses of the population have gone from being 'difficult' to almost 'impossible'. For those affected by leprosy - both those cured and their relatives! - have already found it hard to find work because of the severe stigma. In the absence of savings, they are really just moving from one day to the next!
The Government of India helps people living on the margins of society in many ways. However, the opportunities and ways to do so are stalled and very often do not even reach the people concerned! That is why Leprosy Action India is conducting an extensive information campaign to reach out to leprosy-affected families and educate them about the ways in which the government can support them. Our staff also bring food and other assistance to those in need. There is a huge need for food among the sick and frail population, who cannot afford to go shopping. The Leprosy Mission of India has also opened an extraordinary relief fund for this purpose. The same applies to sanitary products. In a country where clean drinking water is not available everywhere, sanitary products are a life-saving necessity during a virus epidemic!
Covid bundling in Chandkuri
Most of India's leprosy patients are homeless. So for them, "quarantine" is a physical impossibility. At the same time, leprosy patients with weak immune systems are more susceptible to all other infections - including Covid-19!
These are huge challenges, and these are just a few of many! The staff of the Leprosy Mission of India spares no time and effort to fight and stand up to give as much as possible, physically and spiritually, to those who suffer the most. They are waiting for our help!