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LEPROSY :

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium lepra bacillus. It is spread as a droplet infection. Like many other infections, leprosy can be treated with antibiotics. Most people do not catch the disease even if they come in contact with it. Leprosy can affect people of any age or sex, including infants. Leprosy usually starts as a patch on the skin, but it can also attack the nerves and damage them. If you do not treat leprosy, this nerve damage can lead to problems in the face, hands and feet - but if treated early, most of the permanent damage can be prevented. Many of the social problems associated with leprosy could also be avoided by treating cases early.

ENIGMA :

In the Bible, it is referred as a terrible skin disease, involving a whole range of disfiguring conditions. From boils, burns to vitiligo and infections. Also referred to as God's divine punishment. The first religious exercise of the fundamental male dominated Pharisees in the Bible was to thank God that they were not born in any of the four following categories. i.e. Gentile (foreigner), slave, leper or a woman. It was believed that God placed a curse on these four groups of people and used leprosy as a punishment for sin.

STIGMA :

This is how people were rejected, because they were different in one way or the other and were thought to be punished for their sin. Being born a woman or a slave or having leprosy was a reason to seclude them. The most disastrous effect of leprosy is neglect and rejection due to ignorance and superstitions, fueled by unavailability of awareness or medical treatment. Dynamism of Christian faith was born when Jesus rejected no one, and treated all with equality. It was quite contrary to the belief of then Christian leaders.

TRAUMA :

  • Physical suffering includes loss of sensation, facial disfigurement, blindness, deformed limbs, recurrent ulcers, just to name a few.
  • There are many psychological sufferers too. Educated people who once were prominent figures in the society but now are ostracized by the society, rejected by the family and ignored by the community.
  • There is nothing more demoralising to the soul than loosing the love of the person who once loved you.

Misconception of Eradication :

Medical world has declared leprosy eradicated. That means that the prevalence of leprosy is less than 1 in 10,000 population. The specialist centres were closed down. Leprosy now is being addressed in the health centres. In a population like ours, which is more than 120 crores, 1 in 10,000 is in itself a huge number. New cases are being diagnosed and treated. Old cases need follow up. Rehabilitation and occupational therapy are still part of the after care system of treating leprosy. The struggle is on going and there is still lots to be done.

Funding for leprosy is on the decline, because someone somewhere is using the word, "eradicated". This is the major handicap in organizing projects for leprosy patients and in treating and rehabilitating them because it is falsely understood that leprosy has been eradicated.

New Cases :

Leprosy is not eradicated. We still get new leprosy cases in our OPD. Hundreds of old cases are in the follow-up.

Sl.No Year No. of New cases detected No. of follow up cases
01 2007 39 1,750
02 2008 31 1,773
03 2009 40 1,952
04 2010 11 1,647
05 2011 25 1,508
06 2012 45 1,550
07 2013 70 1,594
08 2014 81 2,028
09 2015 87 2,243
10 2016 89 2,051
11 2017 61 2,490

Activities :

  • Out - Patient treatment - Daily OP clinics for general patients and twice weekly special clinics at the hospital for leprosy patients.
  • In - patient care, not only for leprosy patients but also for all the patients requiring admission. There are three general wards - two for men and one for women, each with 33 beds. There are private wards too.
  • Pre & Post - operative physiotherapy and preventive physiotherapy.
  • Health Education (Community Awareness Programme).
  • First Aid and Emergency Medical Care :
  • Patients in need of first aid and emergency treatment (Poisoning, bull-gore injury etc.) are treated and then, referred to the nearest general hospital.
  • Rehabilitation - Goat farming, basket-weaving, candle making by the cured leprosy subjects.
  • Home for the healthy children from leprosy afflicted families.
  • Free Medical Camps.