Etihad Airways supports surgical relief for leprosy victims in Nepal
Etihad Airways is once again supporting UK-based charity Working Hands by flying out a team of surgeons to help leprosy patients in Nepal.
Also supported by Nepalese domestic carrier Yeti Airlines, the surgeons are carrying out their charitable work at the Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital, situated in the south east agricultural flatlands of the country.
The hospital treats daily up to 400 leprosy patients who have symptoms ranging from dermatological conditions to severe paralysis. As the leprosy sufferers are primarily farmers and labourers, having the use of their hands restored is essential to their ability to work and the very reason that Dr. Donald Sammut, who leads the team, has focused on this particular group.
“Our primary aim is to see and treat patients whose hands have been paralysed by leprosy, allowing healthy muscles to provide the function of grip and dexterity which is essential to these populations,” he said.
The programme comprises both direct surgeries on approximately 60 patients and also in the teaching of local doctors. The team this year consists of three surgeons, including Dr. Sammut, an anaesthetist and two hand therapists.
Accompanying them this year is Linden Coppell, Etihad Airways Head of Sustainability, who said: “We are proud to support such a dedicated team of doctors who give up their free time to travel to Nepal, not only to change the lives of those they operate on, but leave a lasting legacy through their dedicated mentoring of the local surgeons.”
The surgeons took with them essential operating equipment and also items such as sterilisers, diagnostic kits and other operating equipment, which is largely donated to Working Hands.
For the last five years, Etihad Airways has provided flights to the surgeons and their team travelling from the UK to Nepal, and also excess baggage required for the large amount of equipment, much of which remains at the hospital.
This year, Yeti Airlines has also offered its support by providing complimentary excess baggage for the internal flight from Kathmandu to Janakpur, close to Lalgadh, significantly reducing the charity’s administrative costs.
Ang Tshering, Managing Director of Yeti Airlines, said: “We are pleased to support Working Hands, which is providing remarkable assistance to leprosy sufferers in the region. And we are delighted to have helped Etihad Airways in their ongoing efforts to support a very worthy cause in our country.”