Leprosy Mission New Zealand running radiothon to help those affected in Pacific region

Leprosy Mission New Zealand have kickstarted a radiothon appeal to help those affected in the Pacific region.

30th July, 2020

Leprosy Mission New Zealand running radiothon to help those affected in Pacific region
Photo/Leprosy Mission

Leprosy Mission New Zealand is running a radiothon appeal on 531pi to help those affected by the disease in the Pacific.

Patients in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville are among the 200,000 people who suffer from leprosy worldwide.

About 500 people were diagnosed with leprosy last year, with a quarter of them being children.

Speaking on Pacific Breakfast, Executive Director of Leprosy Mission New Zealand,Gillian Whitley, says leprosy is still prevalent in many parts of the world.

"We're still talking about over 200,000 worldwide in a year and we want to find those people.

"That number hasn't come down significantly in the last 10-plus years and so that's why we have this push now, this very targeted approach to what do we need to do in the next 15 years, that we can truly say that we have stopped leprosy."

Whitley describes the devastating symptoms of leprosy.

"People often think leprosy is a skin disease and it's not, it attacks the nerves, but one of the symptoms that shows is a numbing. 

"Hands become clawed and so you lose the sensation in the hands and hands can become clawed and so they're not functional. 

"Feet don't lift, so the mechanism to lift the foot no longer works."

With the help of Pacific Media Network, listeners are invited to contribute to the Pacific Cure One Day annual appeal until 3pm today.

Proceeds will go towards those affected by leprosy and families dealing with the consequences of leprosy.

To support the Pacific Cure One Day appeal, call 0800 000 531 and make a donation.​ 

All donations going towards Leprosy Mission New Zealand will be matched and multiplied by five times by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.