Written by Jannine Ebenso
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)
This verse from Psalm 147 has been chosen by our UK based offices as their focal verse for World Leprosy Day. It seems apt for what I have seen this week in a short visit to our team in Nepal.
During the past five days I have met a lot of people who say they were brokenhearted – due to leprosy, due to poverty, due to the earthquake in April 2015. However, all of them say that their hearts have been healed by the medical and other care they have received through the team at Anandaban Hospital.
Dr Indra Napit, Medical Director, takes me on a tour of the hospital compound. The hospital, owned by The Leprosy Mission Nepal, has been here since November 1957. For almost 60 years it has served people affected by leprosy from all over Nepal as well as from neighbouring India. In more recent years, the services have expanded to include not only leprosy, but dermatology, orthopaedics and obstetrics. The general outpatients department is busy most days; anything can come through the doors.
As we walk around I see signs of the April 2015 earthquake. There are spaces where buildings used to be, buildings so badly damaged that they had to be removed. In other places there are buildings with cracks wide enough to put your hand through. Thankfully, due to the generosity of our donors all around the world, new buildings are going up and there are talks of more new buildings to come. Thank you for supporting us to rebuild this vital health facility!
What is so evident in the words and eyes of the staff that I meet is how much they love their work. They were also affected by the earthquake – many of them are still in temporary accommodation, yet their desire is to serve the people coming to them with the complications of leprosy.
As you enter the hospital compound you are welcomed by this sign:
Most important visitors
“People affected by leprosy are the most important visitors on our premises. They are not dependent on us, we are dependent on them. Service to them is the purpose of our work. They are not outsiders to our service, they are part of it. We are not doing them a favour by serving them. They are giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Jannine Ebenso is Head of Quality Assurance at The Leprosy Mission International. She joined the Mission in 1991, living and working as a physiotherapist in Nigeria for 16 years before returning to the UK in 2008. In addition to her Physiotherapy qualifications, Jannine holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Biblical and Cross-cultural Studies and a Master of Arts in Disability Studies. Follow Jannine on Twitter @JannineTLM