Since 1974 the DAHW has been supporting the Liberian Leprosy and Tuberculosis Rehabilitation Center in Ganta, a border town in Northeast Liberia.
The Center was expanded as a training location for healthcare personnel. Finally an orthopaedic shoe workshop and agricultural facilities such as fish ponds, for example, were built to eke out a meagre living to secure the nutrition of the impaired and hospital patients. The main component of the team’s work in the Ganta Rehab Center is the so-called Case Finding, thus the search for new cases of leprosy in the villages.
Half of all new cases of leprosy are presently being diagnosed in the Center. The health workers trained by the DAHW from the villages do the legwork; patients with serious wounds are brought to the Ganta Rehab Center, where the doctor and his team offer the right treatment as needed.
The key aspects are prevention of impairments, social rehabilitation of patients, reintegration through social support, education campaigns and sensitisation of the population, medical and social care for old and new patients, further education and training of qualified personnel.
Leprosy is still a major problem in Liberia, above all because the structures in the country for diagnosis and treatment are still full of gaps and the stigmatisation tends to socially isolate those affected instead of giving them treatment and healing. There are still far too many people who either know nothing of their leprosy or have to hide it from others.
The Center in Ganta is the only hospital known for its treatment of leprosy and tuberculosis anywhere in Liberia.