Africa 2023: Finding Stories of Hope

September 25, 2023

In August, several of our staff from the U.S. and U.K. visited ALM partners and projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ghana. It was a whirlwind experience, full of field trips, site visits and conversations with doctors, pastors and the people whose lives you’ve changed through your support for American Leprosy Missions. We are still amazed by the incredible work we saw and the stories people shared with us.

One project made us especially excited: we saw one of our dreams in action for the first time!


DR Congo

While visiting our Christian partner hospital, IME Kimpese in DR Congo, ALM’s senior director of research and innovation, Dr. Sundeep Chaitanya Vedithi, traveled to a remote health center. Staff at this clinic had found two children with suspected Buruli ulcer (BU) cases, so they called IME Kimpese to come visit them and confirm the diagnosis.
Normally, it takes weeks–even months–for people suffering from BU to hear back about  their test results. But Dr. Vedithi was able to make an immediate diagnosis using a Biomeme qPCR machine and his cell phone–this was the FIRST field test like this for BU! 
Health assessments ALM

Dr. Vedithi using the Biomeme machine (top left) to process a test for Kembo: the boy in the red shirt on his mother’s lap (bottom left). Children under 15– like Kembo and these boys at IME Kimpese (right)–are 50% of Buruli ulcer victims. Thanks to your generous support, hospitals and clinics can use this testing solution to provide same-day test results!

Schieffelin's Machine

At IME-Kimpese, the words “Nzambi Zola” are written above the hospital’s main entrance. This translates to “In God’s Love”: everyone who walks onto the hospital grounds walks under that blessing. This is a place where God’s healing is experienced in so many ways. Thank you for supporting our partners as they demonstrate Christ’s love and healing power!

Using the Biomeme machine means that suffering people receive a test result in less than 50 minutes, saving precious time for people who need treatment as soon as possible.
After Dr. Vedithi got positive test results for the two children, the clinic staff were able to give the medication they needed right away–no waiting! Now IME Kimpese can continue performing tests like this with their Biomeme machine.
This historic moment came from several years of research and planning with our partners. Thank you for faithfully supporting our work, investing in American Leprosy Missions so we can pursue solutions like this that make a difference for people affected. We’re praising God for this step forward!


In Ghana’s capital, Accra, we were reunited with our local team members!  We don’t often see each other in person, so each visit is a gift.
Further north in Ghana, we met with one of our local partners: the Northern Empowerment Association (NEA). Thanks to your gifts, NEA has been training church leaders and other community members to recognize neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like leprosy. NEA staff and volunteers (like Rose Kumah, pictured below) educate their neighbors and encourage them to get medical care.
Eight year-old Mankere received the cure for leprosy thanks to this community work! She had painful, discolored skin patches on her arms and hands, and her grandmother Augustina didn’t know what was wrong. A local pastor who had received NTD training met them and encouraged Augustina to take Mankere to the local hospital. There, Mankere was diagnosed and received the cure!  
At first, Augustina was scared: she has seen the effects of leprosy and didn’t want to see her granddaughter suffer. But thanks to your support, Mankere was diagnosed early and started treatment right away. She already feels better and has returned to school, playing with her friends.
“Hope is when there is a helpless situation, and God brings you a helper,” Augustina told us. “Before, I thought there was no hope. But you have brought hope.”
You are the ones making it possible for ALM and our partners to bring hope to children like Mankere–thank you! We look forward to sharing more stories from this trip with you. 
Health assessments ALM

Visiting our ALM team in Accra (top); Rose Kumah (left) is a community volunteer trained to find people like Augustina and Mankere (right) and refer them for testing and treatment. More people are recognizing diseases and receiving care, thanks to your gifts!