Treating neglected diseases across five continents
Hansen’s disease or leprosy is a ‘Disease of Poverty’ that can be cured. Widely stigmatised throughout the centuries and still today, leprosy occurs in conditions of severe poverty – of malnutrition, overcrowding and lack of care. In the last fifty years the Order of Malta has fought for its eradication whilst caring for the afflicted.
Today, research programmes for the care and rehabilitation of people with leprosy are operational, especially in Africa, South East Asia and South America.
The Order continues its work in combating major epidemics of tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS – still the prime causes of death in Africa. Its relief corps in South Africa provides life-changing HAART drugs for people living with HIV, regularly taking medicines via its mobile clinic to patients living alone in poverty and isolation. Again in South Africa, the Order runs a facility in Mendani for children whom the spread of HIV/AIDs has made orphans.
Over recent years Malteser International has also been active in preventing the Ebola virus from spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo, working in close cooperation with the World Health Organization and local health authorities.
Malteser International fights against moderate and severe malnutrition in children in northern Uganda, where droughts and overpopulation have had disastrous effects. In Haiti – where the Order of Malta has been active since 1995 – cholera-prevention programmes are vital to stop the spread of the disease.