Fighting Leprosy

Many people living in the remote and rural areas of Zimbabwe have difficulty in accessing health care, due to high costs of travel and going to the doctor to be diagnosed and treated.There are long distances to reach the health care providers. 
Due to the stigma against people with leprosy, many do not seek help when first symptoms appear, causing delays in diagnosis and the development of disabilities.
The John Bradburne Memorial Society is aiming to increase the public understanding of leprosy, and tackle the social stigma that is associated to a curable disease, when caught early enough.
The Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre is situated 143 kilometres East of Harare and was first established in 1937. At present there are 16 people living with leprosy and 15 destitute residents who suffer a variety of physical and mental challenges.
From 1969-79, John Bradburne became warden of Mutemwa. He spent the last ten years of his life assisting people living with leprosy through feeding, caring, bathing those who needed help and kept vigil with those who were very sick and buried the dead. John’s care was rooted in his faith and love for the who were marginalised. He lived alongside them and gave them unconditional love and uplifting spirituality with a desire to change the lives of those less fortunate.
The John Bradburne Memorial Society continues the work that John started in supporting the Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre and its community.

Leprosy FAQ

Leprosy is a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) which attacks the nerves. The disease is caused by a rod-shaped bacterium known as Mycobacterium leprae.

Leprosy is not easily transmitted. It is believed to be transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth. But unlike other infectious diseases it spreads only with repeated and close contact with the infected person.

The first signs of leprosy are usually a patch of discoloured numb skin. These patches usually appear slowly and do not cause pain or irritation. However, it is important not to simply diagnose from just looking at the skin patches and doctors must examine the patient thoroughly before diagnosing.

If detected early, leprosy is completely curable through a course of Multi Drug Therapy (MDT), which was first introduced in the 1980’s. MDT is a treatment course that lasts between 6 months to 1 year. MDT is free of charge worldwide, however many people in poverty stricken areas cannot access treatment.

Untreated, leprosy causes long term damage to hands, feet and eyes, leading to paralysis, amputations, ulcers and blindness.

Due to the misunderstanding and lack of information of leprosy, people affected by the disease can be left marginalised, excluded from their communities and experience prejudice.It is not only the physical effects of leprosy which can affect the patients but also the emotional and psychological effect of being shamed by their families and communities, their children being taken away from them and feeling totally isolated. They are separated and marginalised from society making them feel ashamed and worthless. the literal translation of Mutemwa means ‘Cut Off’.

Communities like Mutemwa are isolated and the community lacks basic health information and support. JBMS alongside Lepra are going to help promote this education of leprosy so one day hopefully, leprosy will be a disease of the past!

Please make a donation and help us achieve a Leprosy free world.  If you would like more information about Mutemwa or to discuss how you can help further please contact us.

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