PMN listeners open their hearts and wallets to help leprosy sufferers in Papua New Guinea

Pacific Media Network listeners around the country have shown off their big hearts and generosity in today's 531pi Leprosy Mission New Zealand radiothon.

30th July, 2020

PMN listeners open their hearts and wallets to help leprosy sufferers in Papua New Guinea

Pacific Media Network listeners around the country have shown off their big hearts and generosity in today's  531pi Leprosy Mission New Zealand radiothon.

They donated $3,245 to help those affected by leprosy in Papua New Guinea. 

That figure will be matched five times by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, totalling $16,225! 

About 500 people in Papua New Guinea ​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."

Since 1995 the World Health Organization has supplied drugs free of charge to leprosy patients administered by Leprosy Mission.​