Kathmandu: Damien Foundation Nepal has been awarded Dirga Rana Samundra Bam Gold Medal on the occasion of World TB Day for its important and exemplary contribution in TB control in Nepal. World TB Day is celebrated on March 24 every year.
Dr Sushil Koirala, Country Representative of Damien Foundation to Nepal, received the award on behalf of the organization. The award was established in 2010 by Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, Former Director of National TB Control Center and former Secretary of Ministry of Health and Population. This award is given each year to individuals, organizations and media, to recognize their works and contribution in TB Control.
Active in Nepal since November 2016, Damien Foundation, a Belgian I/NGO, headquartered in Brussels and currently providing technical assistance in 14 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, has been supporting TB and Leprosy control projects since 2017.
In Nepal, Damien Foundation’s focus is on MDR TB and Leprosy. Damien Foundation has supported phase-wise implementation of Shorter Treatment Regimen for Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Treatment in Nepal, apart from supporting construction and operationalization of TB Referral Centers in Sudur Paschim Province and Gandaki Province. It has also supported in construction and renovation of various DOTS centers in different districts and constructed TB/DRTB/Leprosy OPD Block and DRTB Ward (DR TB Hostel) and supported to run the center in Dadeldhura hospital.
Damien Foundation which works in close collaboration with Federal, Provincial and Local governments along with local NGO partners, is providing TB/DR TB and Leprosy services from various government hospitals and NGO run health facilities.
The Referral Centers and Wards constructed with the support of Damien Foundation Nepal, in Madhyabindu District Hospital and Dadeldhura hospital also served as isolation wards and isolation blocks during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic. Damien Foundation Nepal also provided significant support to various hospitals and health facilities including various DRTB Centers and support to the TB/DR TB patients and persons affected by Leprosy.
The TB/DRTB and Leprosy Referral Centers and Referral Clinics supported by Damien Foundation Nepal continued to provide their services during the lockdown period and ensured patients received services and treatment.
Nepal is a high burden DR TB Country as per WHO Global Report 2021. Similarly, Nepal is also one of the top ranking countries globally, among annual new cases of Leprosy. Nepal aims to achieve Zero Leprosy by 2030 and End TB by 2050. Although Nepal declared leprosy elimination at national level in 2010, there are still 16 districts where Leprosy remains a public health problem.
[Related: Interview | “Leprosy is a poverty-related disease. As long as poverty exists, leprosy exists”]