World Leprosy Day

lepra_2015

World Leprosy Day: Leprosy in Germany and India

Evelyne Leandro (no image) is a native of Brazil. She lives in Berlin and is 33 years old. And she had leprosy (What is leprosy?). – What this disease means for a Central European living today, how it restricts and changes lives and which highs and lows sufferers have to go through until they get help – In her book Ausgesetzt, (Abandoned), which was published in autumn 2014, Evelyne Leandro gives an informative account.

500 days of treatment

Ausgesetzt – Cover des Buches von Evelyne Leandros

In just under 230 pages, Evelyne Leandro describes her experiences with the leprosy infection.

In form of a diary, she has summarized the 500-day period, starting with the first symptoms up to the end of the treatment. Sometimes using very personal words, she conveys pain, fear and uncertainty, but also hope, joy and prospects to the reader. Her intention writing this book has been to give a deep insight into this “Disease of Poverty”; however, she also wants to inform a wider audience based on further educational activity.

Leprosy in India is not an isolated case

Something, which in Germany is an absolute exception, is still a daily reality in other parts of the world. Hence, wortundtat uses the World Leprosy Day 2015 (25 January 2015) to also draw attention to the situation of the leprosy patients in our Indian projects, as we are still looking after over 2,000 leprosy sufferers in the area. They either live with their families in one of our villages, which were set up in the 1980ies, or they receive each month – as the man in the picture above – food and other provisions for their daily needs, which helpers deliver to their home.

The number of patients is still rising: In 2012 alone, the World Health Organisation WHO reported almost 135,000 new leprosy infections in India – this is more than half of all reported cases worldwide (just under 233,000 in 2012 – Source: WHO). This figure means that in India one of 1,000 Indians a year still contracts leprosy.

Better treatment options than in the past

However, it is possible to work on the assumption that people contracting the disease today, have a significantly better chance of a full recovery than was the case 35 years ago. It was then that wortundtat took up its work in India and significantly contributed to the development of the right drugs. According to the WHO, nowadays the required antibiotics are provided free of charge. However, due to the fact that they have to be taken for a period of six to twelve months, treatment is time-consuming and rather expensive for local circumstances. It requires good cooperation by patients and close observation by medical helpers.