The International Lymphoedema Framework (ILF) has for several years been collaborating with the Institute of Applied Dermatology (IAD) situated in Kasaragod, Kerala, India. The IAD is a not-for-profit charity registered under Indian laws, founded and run by dermatologist Dr S.R. Narahari and his wife dermatologist Dr K.S. Prasanna. ILF and the IAD have collaborated on research activities and publications, and Dr Narahari has been an invited lecturer at international ILF conferences since 2009.
Dr Narahari has recently issued a call for assistance to the ILF and its international network, asking for financial support to overcome the crisis created by the corona virus and pandemic, which is now threatening the survival of the IAD. The ILF Board of Directors has decided to respond to this call in two ways: A) By making financial contributions of the association and privately to the IAD and B) By circulating this request in the entire ILF network and setting up a subpage of the ILF website which will be used to share information about how to donate to the IAD.
ILF chair Prof. Christine Moffatt CBE has personally visited the hospital created and run by the IAD and has taken part in the treatment of patients with lymphoedema caused by Lymphatic Filariasis or other forms of lymphoedema. Lymphatic Filariasis is probably the main cause of lymphoedema in India and parts of Africa. Several other internationally well-known experts of lymphoedema have also visited and are recommending the work of the IAD. For more information about these recommendations and the IAD please visit the website https://iad.org.in/
All donations received will be used only for the purpose of treating the poor and running the hospital.
The following text has been written by Dr Narahari:
“The dream of IAD, to provide adequate care for all Lymphatic Filariasis patients at an affordable cost was shattered when the Indian government imposed the countrywide lockdown on March 24th to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus. COVID-19 has created an unexpected economic crisis everywhere. The health care services are not exempt from this, nor IAD and its morale. Twenty years of IAD’s selfless service came to a screeching halt. Travel restrictions, fear to visit hospitals, job loss, and uncertainty of the future all piled up, and patients turned away from hospitals. IAD’s in-flow of the patients drastically reduced to a single digit. Our staff went jobless and voluntarily took unpaid leaves to reduce the economic burden of IAD.
Despite the travel restrictions being lifted, people still curtail their outside activities. The economy is still in shambles; job loss is a daily reality. Lymphatic Filariasis patients generally come from poor economic conditions. It has been IAD’s policy to treat every patient who walks in with warmth and care regardless of his social and financial status. About one-fourth of the patients have been treated at a concessional rate, thanks to generous donors. We have recognized a few LF patients who urgently require medical care for their condition. Still, we cannot provide them with treatment due to a lack of donations. We have requested our highly skilled treatment staff to work voluntarily in this challenging situation. But this will not run for long, and IAD is slowly bleeding dry.
The belief that the health care sector is immune to the recession and demand for medical service is relatively constant every time is no more valid. COVID-19 proved it wrong, with many hospitals cutting down their services. Health care workers are losing their jobs. IAD too is at the brink of collapse. So we appeal for financial assistance to safeguard our highly skilled staff as well as treat our physically disabled and economically weak patients. IAD has survived due to generous philanthropists and its self-generated income till today, but now without pay, we rely on you to support us financially. We would be grateful for this gesture, and so will the thousands of patients who can benefit from your contribution to enhancing the quality of their lives”.
On behalf of the ILF Board of Directors,
Chair of the International Lymphoedema Framework