Canadian ministry helping to limit COVID deaths in India

Thursday, May 20, 2021
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

preparing syringe for injection vaccination 1A Canadian Christian global health organization is working to prevent COVID-19 deaths from skyrocketing among India's most vulnerable people as the pandemic there continues to worsen.

Specializing in supporting victims plagued with tropical diseases, Effect Hope is helping Indians suffering from leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF) – diseases that are treated with discrimination and stigma – gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine … which otherwise would be nearly impossible for them to receive.

Bringing hope to the hopeless

Partnering with Lepra UK and Lepra India, Effect Hope (The Leprosy Mission Canada) is working diligently to lift hundreds of thousands of Indians with leprosy, LF and associated disabilities out of their dire situation by finally giving them access to badly needed health care.

By providing transportation to and from vaccination sites to help as many afflicted Indians as possible to receive two doses, the Canadian NGO is all about saving lives – both physically and spiritually – says Effect Hope CEO Kim Evans.

"As followers of Jesus, our mission is to bring hope and restoration to people affected by neglected tropical diseases like leprosy," Evans states in a press release. "We want to ensure that these vulnerable people are not forgotten in the race to get vaccines out. It's simply the right thing to do – we cannot stand by and watch them die."

After traveling to the closest government hospital and waiting there three days, 50-year-old leprosy patient Abdul Nasar was turned down for the COVID-19 vaccine.

"They want us to register on the government portal, but I cannot understand it," Nasar told Effect Hope. "I am afraid – I am worried I will not receive my vaccination."

No longer outcasts

Maneesh Phillip, director of international programs for Effect Hope, emphasizes how difficult it is for the average person to get a vaccine in the world's second-most populous nation of 1.4 billion people – let alone for those who are treated as outcasts.

"People with diseases like leprosy and LF face discrimination and stigma in their daily life, [so] it's clear that they will come upon many barriers as a billion adults clamor for vaccines," Phillip explains. "Marginalized people – who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections – will be at the back of the line … unless they receive support. Lives are at stake."

When the program launched nearly two weeks ago, Effect Hope started by serving a community in India where 80% of its residents suffer from leprosy and LF – a place where the coronavirus could take a heavy toll without vaccinations.

Effect Hope reports that a small donation allows the ministry to provide an individual with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine – as well as transportation to and from the vaccination site.

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