The Last Mile in the Fight Against Leprosy
International Leprosy Summit Focuses on Overcoming Remaining Challenges
Representatives from American Leprosy Missions, including CEO Bill Simmons, joined other leprosy experts and health ministers from eight countries at the International Leprosy Summit held July 24-26, 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Summit, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Nippon Foundation, brought together leaders to discuss the current leprosy situation and the need for intensified efforts to overcome the remaining challenges in winning the fight against leprosy. Great progress has been made during the past two decades, but complacency may now be threatening the last push towards ending this debilitating disease, warned WHO.
Speaking on the opening day, Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director of WHO Southeast Asia said, “Our challenge is to sustain the quality of leprosy services and to ensure that all persons affected by leprosy, wherever they live, have an equal opportunity to be diagnosed early and treated by competent health workers. While we’ve covered a lot of ground in reducing the disease burden in all endemic countries, there is no room for complacency. The final battle against leprosy is yet to be won.”
The Bangkok Declaration Towards a Leprosy-Free World was adopted during the Summit in recognition of the remaining work that needs to be done. It also reaffirms the resolve of the World Health Organization and its partners to achieve a world free of leprosy.
American Leprosy Missions President and CEO, Bill Simmons, endorsed the Declaration at the Summit. “The Declaration clearly acknowledges that our fight against this terrible disease is not finished yet. American Leprosy Missions is pleased to be able to play a key role in bringing more attention and resources to the continuing problem of leprosy.”
About American Leprosy Missions
American Leprosy Missions, based in Greenville, South Carolina, is the oldest and largest Christian organization in the United States dedicated to curing and caring for people affected by leprosy and related diseases. It currently operates in countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas. During its more than 100-year history, American Leprosy Missions has provided holistic care to four million people around the world including medical treatment and training, Christian outreach, prevention of disability, community development and vaccine research.
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