The Self Care Unit (SCU) at Anandaban Hospital in Kathmandu provides selfcare education to people affected by leprosy. People with leprosy often lose sensation in their hands and feet. When there is decreased sensations, wounds and injuries can occur without the person realising. Without pain to let people know the condition of their injuries, wounds and ulcers can become severe and infected. If they are not treated carefully, it can result in limb amputation.
Therefore, it is highly important for people with leprosy to learn how to prevent injury and care for their wounds. The SCU provides practical training to care for existing wounds and to prevent the development of further injury or disability. The unit also distributes assistive devices like footwear.
The SCU provides residential self-care training to equip individuals to participate in family and community life again practically and psychologically. A typical Nepali house was built on the Anandaban Hospital to give participants training in an environment that closely resembles their own living environment to ensure transferability of learnt strategies. The SCU operates from this house providing training to equip individuals with the skill and confidence to complete everyday activities in a safe manner.
In addition, participants are taught how to conduct agricultural work safely. This allows them to return to their usual occupations and maintain an income. This training is supplemented by a range of classes taught by staff from other departments in Anandaban Hospital, for instance the footwear department teaches a class about protective footwear and repair of shoes.
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The Leprosy Mission in NepalLeprosy remains a significant health problem in Nepal—a population where the majority of people are subsistence farmers. The leprosy-prevalence rate is 2.6 cases per 10,000 population (WHO, 2013), well above the World Health Organisation elimination target. Poverty, the stigma of leprosy, and poor access to healthcare all contribute to the high rate of leprosy.
The Leprosy Mission Australia has been working in partnership with the Nepali government since 1957, providing specialist leprosy care at Anandaban Hospital, which is also a centre for extensive leprosy research and treatment development.
In partnership with Leprosy Mission Nepal and Nepal Leprosy Fellowship (NLF), The Leprosy Mission Australia works in community empowerment, development, disability awareness and rehabilitation, and socio-economic rehabilitation in the Central Development and Eastern Development Regions of Nepal.
The Leprosy Mission Nepal is responding to the COVID-19 crisis by distributing sanitisers, masks and disinfectant soap to communities where The Leprosy Mission is present.
They are also raising community awareness through local radio stations.