Show love to persons with leprosy – Veep

 The Vice-President, Dr Ma­hamudu Bawumia, yesterday appealed for an end to stig­matisation against persons affected by leprosy in Ghana.

He said acts of discrimi­nation and stigma against lepers were often based on misinformation, myths and mis­conceptions which were mostly false.

• Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia interacting with some of the inmates
• Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia interacting with some of the inmates

People feel that when you touch a cured leper, you will contract the disease. You can imagine what they go through when they are essentially shunned from society.

There is no problem touching, holding or kissing a leper once they are cured. We need to bring them close, show them love and help them heal from the mental torture they go through as a result of shunning them,” he urged.

Dr Bawumia was speaking on the occa­sion of commemorating World Leprosy Day (WLP) in Accra on Sunday on the theme; “Act Now, End Leprosy.”

Organised by the Lepers Aid Commit­tee at the Weija Leprosarium, the event brought together distinguished personalities and members of the general public to raise funds in supporting the care and rehabilita­tion of lepers across the country.

The Vice President admonished Ghana­ians to open up and embrace persons diag­nosed of leprosy as the disease was highly treatable and curable.

He said the onus was on all and sundry to work at achieving the WHO target of zero transmission of leprosy by 2035.

“Leprosy is about 4000 years old and one of the oldest diseases known to humanity but we can be the generation to end trans­mission of leprosy.

The disease is curable with a combination of antibiotics known as multi-drug therapy and available for free and we must all take up the challenge to helping the country come out of this disease and support those affected by it,” he noted.

Dr Bawumia who is also patron of the Lepers Aid Committee reiterated the government’s commitment to facilitating the provision of support and care at the various leprosariums.

He thus made a donation of GH¢50,000 to assist ongoing interventions in that regard across the country.

Rev. Father Andrew Campbell, the Pres­ident of the Lepers Aid Committee and in charge of the Weija Leprosarium, expressed gratitude to the Vice President for his consistent support to lepers in the country describing him as “a father always ready to help us in any way he can.”

He appealed to individuals and corpo­rate organisations to help the Committee to provide continuous support to persons affected by leprosy in Ghana.

As part of the ceremony, the Weija Lep­rosarium honoured outstanding individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving and supporting lepers.

WLP is commemorated on the last Sunday of January each year to lift up the voices of people affected by leprosy throughout the world and mobilise action to eliminating the disease.

At least 200,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy globally with millions living with the damaged consequences of delayed leprosy treatment.

In Ghana, about 200 new cases of lepro­sy are recorded annually as health experts indicate that all regions are endemic for the disease with transmission still ongoing among the population.

Otherwise known as “Hansen’s Disease”, leprosy is an infection caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium leprae mostly affect­ing the nerves, skin, eyes and lining of the nose.


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