FAIRMED - History

In 1959, members of the 'Friends of Emmaus Bern’ found the National Committee for the Lepers. The organization begins its fight against leprosy in Cameroon, India and Tanganyika (now Tanzania). By 1964, the organization supports 60 leprosy stations in 28 countries, now as an independent body under the name Leprosy Relief.

The organization constructs more leprosy stations, which are staffed with its own doctors, nurses and therapists. The first edition of the newsletter appears in 1965; today, it is published quarterly under the name FAIRMED.

One year later, Leprosy Relief founds the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP). In 1976, Leprosy Relief constructs a leprosy hospital in Hubli, India, In 1980, the organization opens the Regional Office for Equatorial Africa in the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé. An effective combination therapy of different antibiotics that can cure leprosy is introduced in 1984.

In 1991, the 44th Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) approves the elimination of leprosy as a widespread disease by the year 2000. At the turn of the millennium, Leprosy Relief changes its official name to ‘Leprosy Relief Emmaus Switzerland’. Just one year later, the first Buruli ulcer project is launched in Cameroon. In the years that follow, Leprosy Relief increasingly directs its focus towards combating a range of poverty-related diseases.

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 2009, Leprosy Relief changes its name to FAIRMED. The organization continues to grow.