News / Africa

Liberia Steps Up Fight Against Leprosy

People walk past buildings damaged or unfinished as a result of Liberia's decade-and-a-half long civil war. In the post-war era, health officials are stepping up the fight against leprosy.
People walk past buildings damaged or unfinished as a result of Liberia's decade-and-a-half long civil war. In the post-war era, health officials are stepping up the fight against leprosy.
Prince Collins
In an effort to combat the spread of lebrosy, Liberia's Health Ministry has set up its first-ever TB & Leprosy Treatment Center in the northeastern town of Ganta in Nimba County - where dozens of people have contracted the diseases.

The treatment center is trying to battle not only the disease but also the belief that lepers have been cursed by their ancestors.
 
The Ganta Leprosy Center treats some 300 men, women and children living with leprosy. John Saah Brimah, who runs the center, says one priority is to educate the community on how to prevent the transmission of leprosy.
 
“The first line of prevention is somebody who you know has leprosy and is not on treatment, when they are coughing or sneezing you ask them to cover their mouth and nose while coughing," Brimah says. "The second line could be you take all of the children that are born, to be vaccinated. Because one of the vaccines, which is BCG help you to reduce the getting of the worst part of leprosy. I am not saying that when you take the vaccine you will not get leprosy but you will not get the worst one.”

The spread of the disease in rural Liberia is due to widely held belief that the disease is caused by mystical powers and one that cannot be cured by modern medicine, according to Brimah, who adds more health workers are being trained to educate patients and their families.
 
“We have trained people who are working in those TB clinics more about leprosy. So whenever you see these things I am talking about, a red mark on you that is not hurting and it is not itching, you have to report to these clinics," he says. "Any of the big hospitals in Liberia are all having TB clinics open in them because this leprosy and TB they are like uncle and nephew. It is the same germ that can cause both of them. So every TB clinic should have the facility of also treating leprosy.”
 
Abraham Tamba, 40, a patient at the center, has been receiving treatment for more than seven months. His hands are deformed and he says family members abandoned him because of his condition.

“My conditions are terrible. All of my hands are deformed. I have been suffering from this illness for several months now," Tamba says. "And to make my situation more worsen, my family members have turned against me and no one wants to care for me. I am doing everything be myself. That’s how it looks.”

Leprosy is a chronic bacterial disease of the skin and nerves in the hands and feet and, in some cases, the lining of the nose. It is not clear how the leprosy germ is spread, but household and prolonged close contact is important. The germs probably enter the body through the nose and possibly through broken skin. The germs get in the air through nasal discharge of untreated lepromatous patients. Patients with leprosy should be treated by a doctor who has experience with the disease. Treatment is with multiple drugs for six months to two years.

The TB and Leprosy Control program of Liberia plans to publish nationwide figures on instances of leprosy in Liberia soon. But, for now, it is providing treatment and shelter for more than 1,000 patients suffering from the disease.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid