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St Lazarus: Student Elective Bursaries

Published 02 May 2018

Alison Steele, a member of the EMMS International team, shares her account of meeting the King Offa Commandery with a bursary winner: 

A few weeks ago, I was joined in Mansfield by one of our bursary winners, Kristina Gallagher. Kristina studies Medicine at the University of Birmingham and had kindly offered to present her experiences while on elective at Vellore Christian Medical College, in India, to our partner, the Order of St Lazarus.

The Order is dedicated to the care and assistance of poor and sick people, especially those with leprosy. It has a number of commanderies across the UK, and the King Offa Commandery gave Kristina and me a very warm welcome. I had met many of this Commandery’s members in Liverpool last October, and it was a pleasure to see familiar faces and meet the rest of their members.

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Kristina gave an extremely interesting account of her time in Vellore. It is always special to hear directly from students who have been out to hospitals in low-resource settings – they speak so engagingly about what they have seen and done. What struck me about Kristina’s talk was the lack of funding and support for leprosy aftercare – that even after patients are cured, nerve damage and pain can really impact on people’s lives. A holistic approach to healthcare is so sorely needed in resource-poor countries, and it was encouraging to hear about the Christian Medical College’s approach.

It was fantastic to meet and present to the King Offa Commandery, who used the occasion to generously award a cheque of £1,500 in support of our elective scheme. This forms part of a £15,000 donation from the Order to provide bursaries to chosen students. We at EMMS thank the Order for its kind, continued support. 


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I am also very grateful to Kristina and to all the students who have given their time over the last few months to join me in meeting the Order of St Lazarus and sharing their insight. Their presentations really demonstrate the power of our partnership with the Order of St Lazarus!

Left Photo: Kristina Gallagher (student of Medicine), Alison Steele (Development Officer), and Chevalier Mario Rizzardi (Commander of the King Offa Commandery).