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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid