World Leprosy Day is a day to RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT LEPROSY DISEASE and a calling for AN END TO THE STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION that people living with leprosy suffer.
Can you help JBMS spread the word on leprosy and help us to support our patients living at The MutemwaLeprosy Care Centre in Zimbabwe?
Today leprosy is considered a disease of the past, however there are still 3 million people affected by the disease worldwide.There are over 600 people diagnosed with leprosy everyday. It is possible that one day the world will be FREE OF LEPROSYas it is curable.
Leprosy is also known as HANSEN’S DISEASE. Leprosy is an infectious disease that affects the skin, nerves and eyes. It is an infection caused by a slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium Leprae. Leprosy is totally CURABLE,but if left untreated it can cause severe disabilities and blindness.
How you get Leprosy:
If a person with leprosy coughs or sneezes around a healthy person, they then breathe these droplets of bacteria in and get infected. You need to spend a long time living with someone with untreated leprosy to catch the disease. You cannot catch it from touching or sitting next to a person with leprosy.
How to stop Leprosy:
Leprosy is totally curable if found in the early stages of the disease. Leprosy is cured with a set of drugs called MDT – Multi Drug Therapy which was made in 1984. The World Health Organisation (WHO) made MDT free of charge around the world. Patients have to take this medication for 6-12 months depending on the severity of their leprosy.
Stigma of Leprosy:
We have seen our patients living with leprosy at Mutemwa suffer the worst discrimination and prejudice. It is not only the physical effect of leprosy, but the emotional and psychological effect of being rejected by their families and communities, having their children taken away from them and feeling totally isolated. They are made to feel separated and marginalised from society making them feel ashamed and worthless.
John Bradburne & Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre:
When John was taken to Mutemwa in Zimbabwe, he knew instantly this was where he must be. He lived at Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre caring single handedly for all the people living with leprosy. John was their doctor, cook, cleaner and carer. He washed them, fed them, prayed with them and buried them when they died.John’s greatest gift to the people living at Mutemwa was respect and love. He lifted the place from one of neglect and filth to one of care and love. Even today, 43 years on after his death, the patients and community still remember John for his kindness towards those marginalised.