World Leprosy Day 2021

Today is World Leprosy Day 2021 . This day is observed to increase awareness of the disease which, according to the World Health Organisation, nearly 600 people are diagnosed with everyday. Part of Lalgadh Hospital’s work is to create prosthetic limbs and to make specialist footwear for those affected. To donate to NLT click here.

Lalgadh Hospital Footwear development. Photo: E. Thomas ©NLT Ireland 
Lalgadh Hospital Footwear Department. Photo: E. Thomas ©NLT Ireland    

Nepal Leprosy Trust seeks external evaluator

NLT Ireland seeks an external consultant to evaluate the Village Alive Project (VAP) in south-eastern Nepal.  This is a three-year participatory community development project focused on five Dalit villages. VAP is an outreach programme of NLT Nepal’s Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre and is part funded by Irish Aid.

The purpose of the end-line evaluation is to assess project performance in relation to activities, outputs, outcome and impact indicators. The evaluation will be conducted in July or early August 2021 and involves travel to eastern Nepal.

The expected output is an evaluation report with recommendations for future projects, to be submitted by September 2021. For further details, email Vera at Application closing date 1st March 2021.


Remembering my 2018 trip to Nepal

I very much miss visiting my colleagues in Lalgadh and Kathmandu in Nepal. This is due to current worldwide travel restrictions in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 virus.

This time 2 years ago I was there for the 25th Anniversary celebrations of Lalgadh Church. It was a very special visit and I got to meet many of the people who were instrumental in setting up and establishing Lalgadh Hospital in those very early days.  It was great to hear the stories first hand of clearing the land, developing the building and of the engineering involved. All with little or no infrastructure, certainly no phone line!

The travel route out, if you were lucky with flight times, can be done in less than 24 hours. Travelling through the night from Dublin, touch down in Dubai for example and arrive in Kathmandu the following day. Stay overnight in Kathmandu and take an early morning flight from there to Janakpur , flight time about 25 minutes. The journey from Kathmandu to Janakpur can be done by road, a little nerve wrecking on mountainous roads with hairpin bends and adventurous drivers. My return on this trip was by road !!
Flying from Kathmandu is equally as exciting an adventure as travelling by road. The flight was on a BAe Jetstream that can take about 30 passengers (no room for hand luggage)  and a tiny air hostess, as the internal space, seat and pathway is very tight! As you can see from the image below, it’s a twin engined aircraft, usually with Yeti Airlines.
I met up with Mike Houghton and Sue and Mike Wells, who had arrived from the UK, on my arrival into Kathmandu. We flew together to Janakpur the following day and were picked up by a hospital vehicle and staff for the last hour of our journey to Lalgadh Hospital, our destination.  Mike Wells was the project manager for the design and construction of the hospital which started in 1990. He lived in Kathmandu at that time with his wife Sue and family, working with NLT until 1995.
Arrival in Janakpur. Vera from NLT Ireland, Mike Houghton, General Manager  NLT Uk (centre) and Mike Wells (right). Photo: Sue Wells Oct 2018.


Preparations for cutting the cake for Silver Jubilee, Lalgadh Church 2018.

I also got to see the almost complete structure of the Girls’ Hostel, which was under development 2 years ago. The hostel is now fully operational and has accommodation for 10 girls to live in during school term. They are supported and encouraged with their homework tasks and are also learning life skills like gardening and animal care during their free time. You can read more about hostel life and its students here. 

During this trip I visited some of the Village Alive project villages. The one I remember most specifically on that trip was Dhumaura and the huge transitions and development I had seen with a 9 month period.  The Village Alive Project is run over 3 years in specific villages, see more about the project here.    Posted by Vera Nov 2020

Happy Dashain holiday weekend

Wishing all our colleagues in Nepal a very happy Dashain holiday this weekend 26th October 2020.  We hope you can have a few days free from work to rest. We pray you all continue be safe and well. Warmest greetings from Ireland.

Philadelphus Belle Etoile (mock orange) shrub, which has flowered quite late this autumn.

Reviewing the early days of Lalgadh Leprosy hospital

We are almost ready to launch our newly redesigned website.

It has been a nostalgic journey as we looked through old photographs and revisited stories about the early days of Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and the subsequent establishment of Nepal Leprosy Trust.

You can read about our founder Eileen Lodge (1925 – 2019) who passed away in late last year. Eileen’s contribution to leprosy work in Nepal is immense. She established leprosy treatment and rehabilitation centres in Pokhara, Kathmandu, Lalgadh, and Dharan. She gave up her British citizenship and became a Nepali citizen, living in Nepal for 66 years.  Read more about her life here.

Bir Bahadur Thapa, circa 1993. ©NLT

Bir Bahadur (above) as he worked in Lalgadh hospital, circa 1993. One of his tasks at that time was cutting and making different size bandages from large rolls of gauze. He has now retired. Quite a few of the staff from those early years are still working in the hospital today.

Hem, who now manages Ashako Pariwar, was chatting to Bir Bahadur as he returned home one evening last week (end of August 2020) from his rice field. His field is situated just beside the hospital and Ashoka Pariwar.  They chatted about those early days when Bir Bahadur worked in the Inpatient Department and out about the field work that both himself and Hem undertook in the community. As you can see from the photo below Bir Bahadur is looking really well and healthy.

Bir Bahadur Thapa, content in his retirement from Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital. Photo: ©Hem NLT

The challenge of Care in COVID crisis

Pharmacist Sitala. Photo: Pradip Karki © NLT 2020

Sitala Devi Sharma (above) is the pharmacist at Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital. She has lived on the hospital campus, with her family for the last 25 years. Three members of her family work in the hospital. 

‘My responsibility is to manage the supply of essential medicines and to distribute medicines to the patients. Lockdown has made me even more sensitive, busy and responsible. Before the lockdown, 500 to 600 patients used to come daily. Nowadays, only about 30 to 40 people come … Some patients come on foot, some by bicycles, some by motor bikes, some even come by reserving an ambulance …It has become very difficult for the poor. Thankfully, the hospital provides free services and medicines to the poor, the disabled, the handicapped, the leprosy patients and the affected people.’

We wish all wonderful caring staff at Lalgadh Hospital continued good health as they take care of themselves and their patients during this difficult time.

Nepal Ireland Society 18th Anniversary Conference

The Nepal Ireland Society 18th Anniversary Conference took place on Sunday 17th  May 2020 (online)

Chief guest H.E. Dr. Durgar Bahadur Subedi, Nepal’s Ambassador to the UK and Ireland, delivered the key note address.

Irish President Michael D Higgins with the Nepal Ambassador to UK & Ireland, Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi. Celebrate Nepal Irish friendship, August 2018. Photo credit: A. Irwin

Mike Winterburn, chair of the board of Directors of Nepal Leprosy Trust Ireland, addressed the conference. Excerpt below:

‘Nepal Leprosy Trust is a Nepali NGO and was established in the 1970s Continue reading “Nepal Ireland Society 18th Anniversary Conference”

Lalgadh Hospital – extra care during COVID-19

We wish to acknowledge our appreciation to the wonderful, caring, work being undertaken by ALL staff at Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre in Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many other countries, Nepal is in national lockdown (which will be reviewed on 12th May 2020). This is to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To date there have been 59 recorded COVID-19 cases nationally, no deaths have so far been recorded, however, testing has been very limited so actual numbers are unknown. About 10,000 people, contacts or possible cases, are in quarantine.

In this time of global pandemic Lalgadh hospital has provided an isolation ward and a quarantine ward for Covid-19 patients. Staff have been provided with training and personal protective equipment (PPE) as they care for patients during the pandemic.

Lalgadh hospital have severely cut back on normal hospital services. Outpatient numbers are approximately 600 patients daily, that is now reduced to about 40 – 50 patients, mostly leprosy, severely ill or emergency cases. All staff are working hard to continue to provide the normal service to leprosy patients whilst at the same time taking care of those who may have the virus and require isolation and monitoring. Everyone entering the hospital compound are tested for fever to ascertain if they have the virus.

Fever screening desk at Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital. Photo: Sanjib Shrestha © NLT 2020

In the meantime, inpatients services are fully operational with about 70 inpatients in the wards, mostly leprosy patients including several children. 

Staff are working flat-out on extra anti-COVID infection control measures: systematically cleaning, disinfecting and fumigating the entire hospital, installing extra liquid soap and hand sanitiser dispensers, running education classes for the patients on hand-washing, stocking up on disinfectant, and still trying to acquire more reliable stock of PPE.

Due to the length of the lockdown the local government has distributed some food locally, however there is cause for concern about hunger, particularly in poverty affected communities. We are actively seeking information on this issue and may need to send relief to the affected communities that we serve.

The Nepalese people are a brave, resilient and caring people and continue to fight against all the odds. Please pray for the staff’s continued protection, safety and good health.

If you are interested in hearing more about our work or in sending a donation please contact Vera at:

Christmas Wishes 2019

We wish to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful supporters and friends who assisted us throughout the year. We are hugely grateful. On behalf of all our colleagues in Nepal we thank you!

Our winter newsletter is available here if you wish to catch up on our successes of 2019.

Christmas Wishes 2019 © NLT Ireland