WHAT IS LEPROSY:
Leprosy is a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) which attacks the nerves. The disease is caused by a rod-shaped bacterium known as Mycobacterium leprae.
HOW YOU GET LEPROSY:
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.
SIGNS OF LEPROSY:
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.
HOW IS LEPROSY CURED:
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.
IMPACT OF LEPROSY:
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.