British Ambassador ‘humbled’ by leprosy patients’ stories during visit to Anandaban Hospital in Nepal

British ambassador to Nepal, Richard Morris, visited The Leprosy Mission’s Anandaban Hospital last week, where he met patients and staff.

Mr Morris praised staff for their dedication in serving the most marginalised in society, especially during the earthquake, in April, when they took care of others even though their own families were severely affected.

The prompt actions of staff at the hospital resulted in thousands of people receiving food, water, medicines, treatment for injuries and tarpaulins for temporary shelter in the immediate aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25.

Mr Morris said: “During my visit I saw the hospital’s work in leprosy diagnosis and treatment and learned about its wider community outreach work too.

“Leprosy is still found in over 100 countries world-wide. Last year Nepal had the seventh highest number of new cases diagnosed, according to World Health Organisation figures.

“I was grateful to patients at the hospital who shared some of their stories with me. I found their bravery inspiring and humbling. I was impressed by the dedication of all the medical staff I met, and the commitment of the students in training.

“The Leprosy Mission of England and Wales has been a constant supporter of Anandaban Hospital since its establishment in 1957, working in partnership to assist leprosy care and control. I welcome this excellent example of UK-Nepal cooperation and hope that increasing awareness about leprosy and, in particular, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease, can continue to help to better the lives of people in Nepal.”

The Ambassador was welcomed by Sian Arulanantham, Head of Programmes and Shovakhar Kandel, TLM’s country leader in Nepal,  who said the ongoing support of the British public that the hospital enjoyed was a reflection of the long relationship that the two countries have had for almost two centuries.

Mrs Arulanantham said: “ It was an honour to welcome His Excellency to The Leprosy Mission’s Anandaban Hospital, following in the footsteps of Princess Diana, Princess Anne and numerous other ambassadors. 

“He showed genuine compassion for those he met affected by leprosy and was keen to learn more about the disease and how it is affecting the people of Nepal.

“The Ambassador was noticeably touched by the tragic stories he heard of illness, poverty and stigma caused by leprosy.

“His visit has been a motivation to staff and a highlight for the patients, many of whom have travelled across the country to access Anandaban’ s specialist services.”