Sr. Annie Credidio, BVM, a religious sister originally from Brooklyn, runs a hospital and ‘house of dignity’ in Guayaquil for Ecuadorians suffering from Hansen’s disease.
This disease, also known as leprosy, is chronic and infectious and is caused by tiny bacteria that invade the body. Symptoms and signs include nerve damage, skin lesions, weakened muscles and bone deterioration. Because of the ignorance that still exists regarding the disease, Damien House works to educate its patients and the public about treatment. There is a cure for Hansen´s Disease, a multi drug therapy that takes up to 3 years to cure. The Foundation spreads awareness about the disease and acts as an agency to distribute the medication. The fifty in-house patients are cared for by a loving and committed staff and by volunteers. Damien House provides medical care around the clock, including dental care, physical therapy, medicines, and basic sanitary services. The staff also caters to more than one hundred fifty outpatients.
For many years, the Rostro de Cristo community has had a close relationship with Damien House. The retreat groups visit the patients and support them financially by buying their crafts. RdC volunteers are at the hospital Monday through Friday accompanying the patients and spend their time listening, talking, playing games, helping with wound care and nerve testing, doing crafts, organizing events, and being a companion and friend.