Myanmar’s resilient people have coped with severe challenges in recent decades. They were under military rule for 53 years until a return of democracy in 2015. Life has been blighted by ongoing strife, even civil war, between the Government and certain ethnic groups. And the disastrous Cyclone Nargis in 2008 is believed to have killed more than 150,000 people.
The Leprosy Mission has been active in Myanmar since 1898, supporting local Christian organisations including the Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital. Especially following Cyclone Nargis, the programme has rapidly expanded: The Leprosy Mission is now recognised as a leader in both leprosy and disability. The aim of the Mission’s programmes is that people affected by leprosy and disability should overcome barriers such as delayed access to health services, lack of access to private and public spaces, and the ignorance and discrimination that prevent their full participation and acceptance in society.
The Leprosy Mission strengthens people to stand on their own and speak up about issues related to their lives and communities. Strategically located Disability Resource Centres are focal points for rehabilitation for all kinds of disability, and give TLM a presence in all the regions with highest prevalence of leprosy, helping to ensure new cases are detected and treated in a timely manner. TLM has a strong voice to influence change in regard to leprosy and disability issues in the public arena of Myanmar.
TLM’s country leader in Myanmar is Dr Zaw Moe Aung. The annual budget is around £1.3 million.