International Committee of the Order of Malta for Leprosy Relief

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Office of the CIOMAL 3, place Claparède
CH - 1205 Geneva
+41 / 22 / 347 8687 +41 / 22 / 347 0861


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At the beginning of the 1950s, a large international movement led to the creation, throughout Europe, of a large number of committees set up to help people suffering from leprosy. At that time, the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Malta was offered the opportunity to demonstrate its multisecular hospitaller activities and created in Geneva the International Committee of the Order of Malta for Leprosy Relief (CIOMAL) in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO) which laid down the foundations for a vast program which expressed itself in the ambitious goal of "Health for all by the year 2000"

As a member of the International Federation of organisations fighting against leprosy (ILEP), the aims of CIOMAL are as follow :

  • to establish contacts with the the governments representatives and with international organisations ;
  • to ensure the screening of sufferers by specialised medical personnel;
  • to provide medical treatment to patients in accordance with the recommendations laid down by the World Health Organisation;
  • to construct, equip and finance leprosy treatment centres;
  • to recruit and form local personnel;
  • to educate the population fo the countries concerned about health standards and to undertake information campaigns.

The funds of CIOMAL are provided through an annual collection at the time of the World Leprosy Day whose date was fixed for the last Sunday in January, a quarterly information sheet, legacies and diverse gifts all of which are allocated to the different leprosy treatment centres situated in the poorest of the developing countries.

CIOMAL is the initiator of a review on leprology - Acta Leprologica - which regroups articles by medical specialists on epidemiology, immunology, therapy, physiotherapy and surgery, etc., and which is sent out to 1600 subscribers who find in this publication the necessary material for their ongoing formation and training.

Thanks to the colossal efforts made by CIOMAL and all the associations which are members of ILEP, the struggle agains Hansen's disease has proved its efficacity as the number of lepers has passed from 15 million to 4 million. The problem is now to be able to treat the patients who live in remote regions which are reached with difficulty (for geographical or political reasons), and to place the accent on their social rehabilitation so that they don't fall victims to mendicity and, ultimately, to death.

The eradication of leprosy from the world is a challenge which is ready to be taken up by all the associations created for this purpose in those countries in which Hansen's disease is a thing of the past

Copyright © July 1997 / Museum of the Order of Malta & CIOMAL