Nation’s Oldest Anti-Leprosy Organization Awarded USAID ASHA Grant
American Leprosy Missions, a global leader in the fight against leprosy, was recently awarded a three-year $763,000 grant from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program for capital improvements at Lalgadh Leprosy Services Center in Nepal.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s ASHA program aims to increase the ability of overseas schools, libraries and hospitals to demonstrate U.S. advancements in education and medical technology. These institutions then contribute to the strengthening of mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries while creating a foundation for leadership development.
Nepal is one of the countries with the highest number of new leprosy cases in the world. American Leprosy Missions’ partner, Lalgadh Leprosy Services Center, is one of the busiest leprosy hospitals in the world, caring for 7,800 leprosy and 51,000 general patients each year. It serves eastern Nepal and northern India where leprosy is prevalent and there is a lack of reliable medical services.
“I’ve traveled to Nepal and seen the need firsthand,” says Bill Simmons, American Leprosy Missions President and CEO. “This grant will provide desperately needed facility and equipment upgrades for a key leprosy hospital. Most importantly, it will enable more people suffering from leprosy to be healed and given hope for a brighter future.”
The USAID ASHA grant will expand sustainable, high-quality healthcare services at Lalgadh. The outpatient department, including the laboratory, pharmacy, registration and emergency unit, will be expanded and modernized.
A significant portion of the grant money will be used to fund improvements to the footwear department. Feet with nerve damage from leprosy can become cut or ulcerated, and then infected. This can lead to deformity and even amputation, so special footwear is required to protect the feet. In 2013, Lalgadh distributed 2,609 pairs of protective footwear.
Other facility and equipment upgrades include a new incinerator to assist with waste management and a solar power backup, since power outages are common. The USAID ASHA grant will allow Lalgadh to better serve rural Nepalese by improving patient care and enhancing the hospital’s financial and environmental sustainability.
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, community development and vaccine research.
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This project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this press release are the responsibility of American Leprosy Missions and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.