The Minister of Health of the Republic of Liberia, Walter T. Gwenigale, was received this morning by the Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Jean-Pierre Mazery, at the Magistral Palace in Rome. During the meeting – which was also attended by the Ambassador of the Order of Malta to the West African state, Pierluigi Nardis – the two ministers discussed the difficult health situation in Liberia, ravaged in the recent decades by two civil wars – the last ending in 2003 – which destroyed the country’s economy and caused hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The meeting focused, in particular, on the dramatic shortage of medical personnel able to meet the emergency health posed by tuberculosis and, in particular, leprosy. The latter disease is in fact still very popular mainly because of the extreme poverty and poor hygiene in many areas of the country. This explains the strong commitment of the government of Monrovia in strengthening the national health medical resources, by training doctors and nurses, in order not only to treat leprosy patients, but also to diagnose the disease in its earliest stages. This morning’s meeting was also an opportunity to discuss a possible collaboration between the Monrovia government and the Order of Malta, aimed at supporting the training of medical and paramedical professionals abroad.
The visit of the Minister Gwenigale coincides with the 60th World Day of Leprosy. On Friday, 25 January, the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Republic of Liberia will hold in Rome an ethical and scientific meeting called “Leprosy: plague or disease? Medical and epidemiological profiles. Social aspects. Political and humanitarian “. The meeting will also be attended by the Italian Minister of Health, Renato Balduzzi, as well as doctors, professors and experts of the disease.