A spontaneous relief operation was organised for Kazakhstan in 1994, following a film broadcast by the TV channel Vox in November 1993 about the situation of leprosy people in a Kazakh leprosarium, the “Kas-Leprosarium”. A Kazakh family, who at that time were patients in my surgery in Dinslaken, took care of all formularities in Kazakhstan and arranged for my invitation to Kazakhstan. This was a good basis for organising the relief operation.

Kas-Leprosorium
Kas-Leprosorium

The appeal to help was willingly followed by the citizens of Dinslaken. Adolescents as well as young adults  spontaneously took part in the relief operation. Clothes as well as other useful objects were collected and put into 70 packing cases. The German Leprosy and TB Relief Association also put considerable quantities of medicine at our disposal. Everything was transported from Düsseldorf to Almaty, Kazakhstan, by airplane and from there flown to Ksyl Orda, where leprosy people were living in the leprosarium Kas, which is located in a desert-like landscape.
The patients, the chief physician Dr. Asylbieg Schamalowitsch and the medical staff were very surprised when the Europeans appeared with such an important cargo!
When we explained the motives of our relief operation to them, they were aghast and asked themselves “How is it possible that people from another nation and another religion living on a different continent are deeply touched by our situation?”


Patient
Patient

The leprosy people were very open and interested in the motives of our relief operation. They were particularly curious about the effect of the medicine we had brought with us and the possibilities to cure leprosy in Western Europe.
At that time, 116 leprosy patients were living at the leprosarium Kas, most of whom had physical deformations, were crippled and suffering from impaired vision and even blindness.

The Kasleprosarium is a central institution as far as the fight against leprosy in Kazakhstan is concerned.  This is why – thanks to the help of the physicians on site - we succeeded in supplying the out-patients, who are taken care of in three out-patient departments, with aid supplies.
The total number of leprosy people at that time was 900 patients. The leading Kazakh leprologist in charge, Dr. Myrsachmetow Jerschan Isatajewitsch, is in charge of the fight against leprosy in the whole country.

The following relief action took place in 1995, consisting of medication sent from Dinslaken to Ksyl Orda with the help of the Kazakh Embassy.

In 1996, medication as well as infant food was transported from Dinslaken to Ksyl Orda, this time via Karalkapakstan by means of an artic truck.

In the following years, we could invite Kazakh physicians to Germany on three occasions and thus could intensify the contact and, above all, exchange scientific information. The physicians were Dr. Ismagambetow Asylbieg Schamalowitsch, Dr. Myrsachmetow Jerschan Isatajewitsch and Dr. Ornambieg Smachanow. They were also able to visit the Hansen Institute (Leprosy Relief Association in Würzburg, GLRA), where intensive professional discussions with the physicians of the GLRA  took place.
In 1999, further medical aid goods were transported from Dinslaken to Ksyl Orda by truck and also contained medication for the newly founded children’s hospital. This had been an urgent request of the Kazakh consul Nurlan A. Kassymkulov.

Thus, a very good German – Kazakh cooperation has developed over the years in the field of leprosy. We could therefore organise the “1st Leprosy Conference of Central Asian Countries” in Almaty in September 1999.

1. Leprakonferenz der Zentralasiatischen Länder
1st Central Asian Leprosy Conference

We organised and financed this conference together with the GLRA. Leprologists from eight countries exchanged their experience and Kazakh radio and television channels reported about it. The central decision was to work closely together for the following five years.
There has been a continuous and warm-hearted contact with both the patients as well as the medical staff of the Kaseprosarium.

 

April 2006 - Trip to Kazakhstan

As a founder member of the German-Kazakh Society, my husband and I accepted an invitation of Mr. Kairat Sarybay, the Kazakh Ambassador in Berlin - together with 11 members of a German delegation - on the occasion of the first non-stop flight from Frankfurt to Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan.

My lecture about leprosy at the Medical Academy Astana was the main focus of our visit.

Wahrzeichen von Astana
The landmark of Astana
Vortrag in der Medizinischen Akademie
Lecture in the Medical Academy

2009


Dr. Moldagali Sotaliev
Dr. Moldagali Sotaliev

My contact with Kazakhstan is stable and consistent. Since I am a founding member of the German-Kazakh Association in Berlin, I am familiar with the changes in the country. Kazakh leprologist take part in all leprosy conferences held in the territory of the former USSR. On the occasion of the World Leprosy Congress in Hyderabad, India, in 2008, the Kazakh Leprologist (Leprosarium various Ksyl Orda) Dr. Moldagali Sotaliev presented the situation of the disease in his country. Further training for Dr. Staliev is planned in Bombay.

An International Leprosy Conference is planned to take place in Ksyl Orda in October 2009 and will be attended by worldwide renowned leprologists.

 

October 2009 - New paths in the Therapy of Leprosy

While the number of new cases world-wide is on the up, the number of registered leprosy patients in Kazakhstan is decreasing continuously, thanks to effective therapies. Therefore, leprosy work has to be modified. Such was the content of the II. International Leprosy Conference in Ksyl Orda, Kazakhstan, which took place in October 2009. A new resolution containing the modifications of leprosy work was presented to the Kazakh Minister of Health.

Konferenzteilnehmer
participants of the conference

Although the patients in the leprosarium are considered to be cured, they still need our support due to long-term effects of the illness such as crippledness and mutilations.

Leprafolgen
Consequences of leprosy
Rollstühle
Wheelchairs

 

June 2011

The II. Eurasian Dermatologist Congress took place in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan from June 2 – 3, 2011. I was given the opportunity, following an agreement with Prof. Batpenova, the Director of the Kazakh Dermatologists, to hold a detailed lecture about the current situation of leprosy including clinic, diagnosis, therapy and research together with the Director of the Leprosy Research Institute Astrakhan, Russia.
Nur ein geschulter Arzt ist in der Lage neue Leprafälle zu finden.

The II. Eurasian Dermatologist Congress took place in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan from June 2 – 3, 2011. I was given the opportunity, following an agreement with Prof. Batpenova, the Director of the Kazakh Dermatologists, to hold a detailed lecture about the current situation of leprosy including clinic, diagnosis, therapy and research together with the Director of the Leprosy Research Institute Astrakhan, Russia!

Kongress
Congress
Vortrag
Lecture

 

On the occasion of the II Euro-Asian Congress and upon invitation of the Dermatologist Society Kazakhstan, of which I am a honorary member, I could present the complete and complex issue of Leprosy.

Leprosy Centre ‘Kasleprosarium‘ in Ksyl Orda on the Aral Sea

Whe World Leprosy Day was solemny celebrated as “Day of Aid for Leprosy People” on 31st January 2016.

‘Dermatologists and Cosmetologists World Congress’ in the new capital of Kazakhstan. Since the EXPO 2017 took place in Astana at the same time,  medical doctors from almost all continents were present in the congress hall. For me, those were very exciting days because of the interesting mixture of different languages and “heated” discussions. There, one question arose: Is it possible that a medieval disease, leprosy, is still present in our times?

Expo 2017
Expo 2017

For our leprosy work, this congress opened new dimensions for me – a contact between the Kazakh Leprosy Centre and the most important universities of the country: Astana and Almaty. Thus, the fight against leprophobia will be dealt with on a scientific basis.  If this is also successful in other countries of the former USSR, this congress will go down as a milestone  in the history of leprosy.

Kongress
Congress

 

A congress of Dermato-Venerologists took place in Almaty, the former capital in East-Kazakhstan on the 20th/21st October 2017. Following an invitation of the university, I presented my main concern, the fight against Leprosy. I succeeded in establishing a contact between the leprosarium Ksyl Orda on the Aral See and the university in Almaty , to gain abroader acceptance of medical doctors for the latest scientific findings.