We work with Fr. John Henault, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
(OMI), who runs a Leprosy programme in the Gonaives area of Haiti. Leprosy is a contagious disease prevalent in Haiti. It is transmitted through droplets from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contact. The symptoms are disfiguring skin sores, lumps and bumps, skin discolouration and nerve damage. If left untreated they will lead to amputations and even death. Fr. John has identified a large number of people with leprosy in the Gonaives region in the North West region of Haiti. The World Health Organisation has classified the outbreak of Leprosy in this region as an epidemic.
For treatment patients had to travel to then only clinic in Haiti which is in Leogane in the south west of the country, a journey of approximately 8 hours by various bus journeys from Gonaives. This journey must be done monthly for medications.
Patients are no longer contagious after one month of treatment but it can take several months for the leprosy to be cured. Travelling this distance is very costly for those people who have very little or no money. Due to the cost and time involved many patients do not continue with the full course of treatment and if they skip two consecutive months they have to start the treatment process all over again.
In 2016 we have built a clinic in Gonaives to help Fr. John Henault so these patients will not have to make the long arduous journey to southern Haiti for treatment. This Clinic has now also been recognised by WHO and Department of Health in Haiti. Leprosy today can be totally cured and most patients make a full recovery if treatment is administered correctly.