India (MNN) — According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, 71% of the world’s new leprosy cases are in South Asian countries. In the latest available data, India alone accounted for 134,752 of the world’s 232,857 new cases of leprosy, or nearly 58%.
Today wraps up a week of Gospel for Asia leprosy outreach in India. Since World Leprosy Day on January 26, GFA teams have been cleaning leprosy colonies, giving food and medical care to over 260 leprosy patients in a dozen Indian states.
Pray that the communities find new healing and hope in Jesus.
“They have shelter and other basic facilities provided by the government, but they are not getting proper medical care,” said one GFA worker.
Following this week’s one-day outreach in each community, GFA women missionaries will serve in leprosy colonies full-time, offering medical care and sharing the love of Jesus.
According to GFA, leprosy is still a greatly-feared disease across Asia because of the disfigurement it can cause, the social stigma it carries, and because it can be transmitted through close contact with a patient.
The disease can be totally cured if medical help is sought immediately, but in remote places and among the poor, diagnosis and treatment often come too late. Among the cured, only those who have no visible deformity will be able to integrate back into society.
All others will have to live in leprosy colonies–alone or with their families–for the rest of their lives.
GFA-supported national missionaries and students are involved in sharing the love of Christ through Sunday School ministry among leprosy patients. They also do social and relief work such as food distribution, medical aid, health and hygiene awareness programs, and more.