International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Lechat, Prof Michel F - Personal Collection


    Category Personal Collection
    Organization N/A
    Country Belgium
    Address 109 rue des Trois Tilleuls, 1170 Brussels, Belgium
    Telephone +32 2 673 24 76
    Fax +32 2 673 24 76


    The material in Professor Michel Lechat's private collection covers field work from the mid 1900s to the present. Five boxes of this collection contain the following: documents relating to the time of, and subsequent to, Michel Lechat's tenure (1953-59) at Iyonda-Mbandaka Leprosarium in the Belgian Congo. There are documents that relate to official visits (standard programmes, correspondence, information and lists of visitors); administration (including annual reports for the 1950s, the 1956 report for the Order of Malta Rome Congress, procurement forms for drugs and medical supplies, correspondence with colonial medical services and correspondence with Catholic Missions and Church authorities). There are records of clinical work (including treatment forms, instructions for physiotherapy, photographs, x-rays and arteriographics); records of constructions (plans, projects and financial data); of correspondence; of public relations; a scale model of the leprosarium for the Brussels World Exhibition in 1958 and a collection of letters from patients, farewell speeches for staff, vouchers and memos.

    Documents that relate to his return in 1960 include negotiations with the Order of Malta for taking over the leprosarium and correspondence with missionaries. His subsequent visits in 1968 and 1988 are recorded in a written report of the visit and accompanying photographs (for 1968) and photographs and a video (for 1988). There are also annual reports for the leprosarium up until 1970 and continuing correspondence with missionaries and doctors.

    As part of the activity associated with these visits, there is documentation relating to a study for Dr Blumberg on Au antigen (Hepatitis B) 1969 and on a follow-up study on HTLV-1 in 1992-96.

    The collection consists of correspondence with the following: Raoul Follereau, Dr Hubert Sansarricq, A Dubois, P G Janssens, T N Jagadisan, R S Guinto, J A Doull, P Laviron, Karl F Schaller, Maurice Kivits, V Martinez Dominguez, Hervé Floch, R Chaussinand, J Languillon, F Davey and H W Wade. There are files relating to Dr F Hemerijckx - correspondence from 1951, reports (from Nigeria 1950…) and scientific notes. Ma Haide files include correspondence, notes on conversations about the future of leprosy in China, plans for ILA Congress in 1998 in Beijing, photographs, articles and newspaper clippings. There are documents relating to genetic isolate studies in Tovar, Venezuela (including maps, lists of patients for blood sampling and family lines for all families from 1850). There are also documents relating to the 8th International Leprosy Association Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 1963, including a report of the panel on epidemiology with signatures of all the members. There are also nine notebooks recording Lechat's 1956 WHO fellowship visit to Paris, Carville (1956-57), Venezuela, French Guiana, Suriname, Brazil and AOF - French West Africa (Senegal, Mali and the Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria and South Africa). This collection also includes travel reports by M F Lechat to the Belgian Congo (as a medical student in Dr Hemerijckx's place in 1951), to Cuba for WHO in 1981, China, on behalf of the ILA in 1981, Guinea-Bissau, for the AIFO (Italy) in 1984, Cuba, for WHO in 1984 and an interview with Dr Choi in Pyong-Yang, North Korea. There is also extensive documentation on the development of the epidemiometric model of leprosy in 1970-74. Finally, there is also a dossier on Clementina Dierckx (Sr Marie Helene), a Belgian nun in Cebu (1890-1990). This is a detailed and extensive file collected by the family.

    Entry made February 2001
    Updated January-March 2002


    Name Prof Michel F Lechat
    Organization Private collection
    Address 109 rue des Trois Tilleuls, 1170 Brussels, Belgium.
    Telephone +32 673 24 76
    Fax +32 673 24 76

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