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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

Aims to accelerate progress toward a world without leprosy through innovation.

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For the past decade, the annual number of newly diagnosed cases of leprosy has remained above 200,000. Now a new partnership is hoping to broaden collaboration, attract new funding and mobilize scientific innovation to break transmission of the disease.

Launched in January, the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy will coordinate action in three main areas: 1) accelerating research in new diagnostic and therapeutic tools, interventions and strategies to interrupt leprosy transmission; 2) mobilizing technical assistance and expertise to strengthen existing national programs; and 3) increasing advocacy and fundraising.

“By combining expertise and coordinating research and funding efforts, we will be able to take advantage of new and innovative approaches to accelerate progress toward the elimination of leprosy,” said Dr. Ann Aerts, head of Novartis Foundation, one of the organizations behind the new partnership.

Other members include the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) and the International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA), with representation from national leprosy programs, scientific organizations and the academic community, and support from the World Health Organization.

The secretariat is hosted by the Task Force for Global Health, a U.S.-based NGO working to improve health conditions for vulnerable populations.

For more information: www.zeroleprosy.org

VALLEY OF HOPE STORY GALLERY

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A story gallery focusing on the lives of residents of the former Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement in Malaysia was launched on February 25, 2018. Featuring photos, artifacts and more, it preserves the stories and memories of residents of the settlement, which opened as a model leprosy colony in 1930 during British colonial rule of Malaya.

The gallery was established by the Sungai Buloh Settlement Council and financed by a crowd-funding project dubbed “You Are the Hero.” Today there are around 150 persons affected by leprosy still living in the former settlement, which was also known as Valley of Hope.

“We feel that future generations should know this history, because it shows the darkest and most beautiful aspects of human nature,” said Eannee Tan, who spearheaded the project. “People lived in isolation, cut off from family and denied their rights, but were still determined to carry on their lives,” she said. “We hope that everyone who walks into the story gallery will be inspired by their struggles.”

The story gallery is located within the settlement’s community hall, which was extended to accommodate the museum. The gallery complements a number of government-run galleries and there are plans to turn the settlement—known today as the National Leprosy Control Centre—into an open-air museum.

For more information: www.valleyofhope.my