Saturday, January 26, 2019

(LML) Unblocking the flow of funds for leprosy work

Leprosy Mailing List – January 25,  2019
Ref.: (LML) Unblocking the flow of funds for leprosy work  
From:  Francesca Gajete, Manila, the Philippines

Dear Dr. Pieter,

Greetings from the Philippines!

My response to Joel Almeida for your editing (LML, January 20, 2019). I might be coming out too strong for our readers and our leaders in leprosy work. 

I understand and commiserate with the concern of Dr Joel Almeida as to the dwindling funds if not nil for leprosy work. This is not limited to few countries but I believe, globally.  In my 43 years as leprosy worker,10 years as National Leprosy Control Program Manager I would like to share some insights, experiences and observations:

1.  Funds for leprosy work is NOT EQUITABLY utilized.  It is dependent upon the Medical Officer assigned for STBL/HIV. Mostly are epidemiologist for TB and HiV claiming they have no knowledge of leprosy. So, the Program Manager just wait on the side for whatever is allocated, sometimes you just have to push for inclusion in research and epidemiological studies among others. There was only one who requested to have a one on one training on the basics of leprosy and gave equitable allocation of funds and time for leprosy leaving an enormous legacy funded by his own government;

Lessons learned: as Program Manager workout your Operational and Financial Plan and get your support from your own government thru your Ministry of Health and legislators.

What happened to the Bangkok Declaration? We need an update from the GLP Managers on this.

2.   Inclusion of Leprosy with NTD has negative effect. Why so? If the health official you are working with is the NTD point person and has a priority program either leprosy is left behind or your fund is siphoned.

Lessons learned: Program Operational Plans must jive with that of the whole region in the country. We have 16 Regions and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. We concentrate in areas declared as still endemic while ascertaining that case finding together with contact surveys (RFT for the past  10 yrs) and still continuing MLEC ( Modified Leprosy Elimination Campaigns) nationwide;

Exclude Leprosy from NTD, since it is no longer a neglected disease it's just not a priority but has funds for operations and leprosy work.

3.    Reversed playing field with major partners in leprosy work. It is now the National Leprosy Control Program which provides funds to Major Partners.

Lessons learned:   Not all Partners provided with funds have the best intentions as that of the NLCP:  Divine guidance and trust is very much needed if you want to succeed, but until when?

NLCP Managers must be keen enough to choose partners who deliver accordingly.

4.    In June 2010, the Operational Guidelines for the Active Participation of Persons Affected by Leprosy was drafted in Manila. It has been more than 8 years, some of the participants have already passed away though majority are still waiting for updates on how they can actively participate.

Lessons learned: NLCP must allocate bigger budget for Community Organizing & Training; established Community Based Rehabilitation; choose effective partners to facilitate.

Lastly, reiterating the formulation of GLP Modules for the Academe for Physicians, Nurses , Medical Technologists, Midwives, Health Educators and Nursing Attendants by our leprosy experts like the ones crafted by Dr Luc Van Parijs and Ms June Nash in Madras and Nepal together with selected program managers and leprosy partners.

I also hope these concerns will be tackled during the 20th International Leprosy Conference in Manila, September 10-13,2019. See you all soon!

Yours in Leprosy Service,

Dr Francesca C Gajete

LML - S Deepak, B Naafs, S Noto and P Schreuder
Contact: Dr Pieter Schreuder <<

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