No Cure For Stigma.
When many of us fall sick we can rely on the help and sympathy of our friends and family, but what happens if you tell them you have Leprosy? One of the great misunderstood diseases on the planet, leprosy attacks the nerves, leading to numbness, lesions, infection and ultimately disfigurement. It is easily treated with a simple course of drugs costing only a few dollars but the stigma is harder to cure. In the North-West Bangladesh region of Sylhet a remarkable hospital was established; their aim was to not only treat the medical problems but also help with the other areas of their lives that the disease affected. Teaching them cleanliness to guard against future infection and rudimentary training towards some form of self employment like weaving, sewing or running a small shop. They recognised that many of the sufferers were socially ostracised after contracting the illness and regardless of the fact they had been cured, remained so. Education, employment, marriage, things we often take for granted as part of our lives become unattainable goals for many of them. Reputedly the worlds oldest recorded disease, sufferers are fighting from attitudes built over millennia. If the symptoms become advanced they are almost impossible to hide, leaving the affected person to contemplate not only their medical predicament, but also the prospect of a life of rejection and isolation.