1 September 2021. The management team from PerMaTa Sulsel / YDTI and the team from PerMaTa Gowa visited North Toraja district to advocate for better rehabilitation services for people affected by leprosy. The activity was supported by Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF).
After a 10 hour drive, we spent our first day in the Batu Leleng leprosy settlement. We met with the PerMaTa Toraja branch and visited the homes of people affected by leprosy to see their condition. We were able to visit 21 people and 8 of them had wounds or needed prostheses or orthopaedic shoes.
On the second day, we met with two female Toraja Church leaders to discuss the stigma PerMaTa Toraja encounters when they visit other people affected by leprosy in the communities or the health centres. Together with these two women, we continued to meet with the head of the health department in North Toraja district to convey that there is still stigma and discrimination that hinders access to rehabilitation and referrals. In the afternoon we were able to meet with the chairman of the Synod of the Toraja Church and again talked about stigma and discrimination. At sunset we met the Deputy Regent of Tanah Toraja district to introduce PerMaTa Toraja and to share our impression that many people with leprosy have not been detected yet in Toraja.
Next day we left Toraja before sunset. The management team returned to Makassar while the PerMaTa Gowa team continued their journey to Bone district where they were warmly welcomed by PerMaTa Bone at the Lerang leprosy settlement. They visited around 20 people affected by leprosy to evaluate their condition as well as 4 people who had received microcredits through our SHF project, to see how their small businesses were doing. Several people needed referal to a hospital but refused as they were afraid to be accused of having Covid-19. The Gowa members tried to teach them self-care at home to the best of their knowledge. The results of the microcredits were positive and the people felt very much supported by the loans with very low interest rates.