SASAKAWA MEMORIAL HEALTH FOUNDATION
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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

VOLUNTEER SPIRIT

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Raj Pracha Samasai Spirit Volunteer Groups (RPS-SVGs) provide rehabilitation services to people affected by leprosy — particularly those with disabilities — and other disadvantaged individuals. Based in communities where people affected by leprosy live, they consist of health volunteers and a key community leader, such as a monk, a teacher or a village chief. The first RPS-SVG was established in Pitsanulok Province in 2010; there are now 20 such groups throughout Thailand.

RPS-SVGs are supported by the Raj Pracha Samasai Institute and Raj Pracha Samasai Foundation. The institute is a government organization under the Department of Disease Control, while the foundation is an NGO that supports leprosy activities not covered by the government. Under its president, Prof. Teera Ramasoota, the foundation is particularly focused on the rehabilitation of people affected by leprosy and provides each newly formed spirit volunteer group with initial funding of 5,000 baht.

In addition to rehabilitation activities, ranging from wound care to housing renovation, RPS-SVGs are also encouraged to carry out case-finding. Training is given to enable them to perform their tasks more effectively.

To sustain the RPS-SVGs and build relations between them, a workshop is organized at least every other year. This provides a chance for RPS-SVGs to learn from one another and share their experiences.