History And Background
The Swiss Emmaus Leprosy Relief Association (now known as Fairmed) has been working in India with the Government of India’s(GoI) National Leprosy Eradication Program (NLEP) since over 50 years.
The Hubli Hospital for the Handicapped was established in 1976 with the aim to provide a complete package of services to those suffering from leprosy – this included a complete population survey to identify and treat those affected, do reconstructive surgery to correct the deformities to whatever extent possible, and to provide vocational rehabilitation to give them economic self-sufficiency.
The villages of Hubli and Dharwar taluks were taken up as the project area of the hospital initially and in the year 1986, some parts of Old Hubli were added. As a result of 40 years of intensive work, the number of leprosy patients could be reduced to a significant extent. When the government integrated leprosy services with the primary health care, the project areas were handed over to the government in stages in 1994 and 2002.
In the first five years, the training and appointment of doctors, para-medical workers, physiotherapy technicians, nurses, and rehabilitation staff headed by an occupational therapist etc. was carried out. A shoe workshop was added in 1985. The candidates for the para-medical, physiotherapy and lab technician courses were selected from the surrounding villages, thus ensuring improved employment opportunities to the local youth.
From December 1982, government recognized Paramedical workers training programs, short-term doctors training and refresher courses were organized. The doors for crafts-training were opened to other types of physically handicapped persons, thereby practicing the concept that leprosy doesn’t need to be segregated. Common hostels, training-cum-working halls are shared by polio patients, dumb and deaf, leprosy, orthopaedically handicapped,and other differently abled people.