Residents of the Omu-Aran facility suffer discrimination and starvation.
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is caused by a slow-growing bacterium, known as Mycobacterium leprae, that spreads slowly through the body. The infection of this disease is considered to happen by breathing in droplets in the air and it usually involves long-term contact with a carrier of the disease. Across the world, WHO recognizes approximately 208,000 people as carriers of leprosy. Also, over 2,000 people are newly diagnosed with the disease on a yearly basis; mainly in 23 countries. Nigeria, as one of these nations, registered 2,095 new cases of leprosy in 2018.
Without treatment, leprosy could cause permanent damages to the infected part of the body; hands, feet, and eyes. These damages could lead to paralysis, blindness, and amputations. However, in the 1980s, a combination of antibiotics used in an approach called multidrug therapy, also known as MDT, has made this long-time disease curable. In 1989, Nigeria inaugurated a National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program for the active identification of cases of leprosy and the administration of MDT. Nationally, Nigeria achieved WHO’s benchmark in 2000. Nevertheless, the Hansen’s disease remains in the country, even after 20 years.
The Omu-Aran facility is in the care of the ECWA mission.
The Omu-Aran leprosarium was founded in 1943 by Canadian missionaries who were in charge of it until the late ‘70s, but currently, it is in the care of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) mission. A 70-year old patient who has spent almost three decades at the leprosarium, Abigail Olaiya, reported that her meals have been unpredictable for a really long while. She eats twice a day and at other times, she starves all day because she is unable to afford her feeding expenses.
Olaiya and other residents of the facility testify that they are been offered a genuine sense of safety and communal belonging that they have been denied in the society. The leprosarium takes responsibility of their food, shelter and permits freedom of religion despite being run by a church. The facility accommodates a church, mosque, hospital and an extension with living quarters. Regrettably, the administrator of facility, Samuel Abiodun, stated that the exit of the missionaries led the leprosarium into deterioration.
Currently, there are 64 leprosy colonies in Nigeria.
Carriers of this disease are prone to stigma, not only because of the infectious nature of the illness, because even after the disease is cured, the stigma remains. Residents of the facility, just like Olaiya, suffer hunger and discrimination with no support from anyone, and making little to no money from begging for cash. In most cases, due to the stigma, people do not permit them to work. As a result, they are dependent on the kindness of the people of Omu-Aran.
Currently, there are 64 leprosy settlements in Nigeria, but unfortunately the majority of them are in different states of disrepair with little to no funding. Residents of these leprosy colonies, since time past and until now, are faced with isolation and are usually unable to return to their houses due to stigmatic isolation. Occupants of leprosarium facilities are infected by different kinds of leprosy, it could be tuberculoid leprosy, lepromatous leprosy, and borderline leprosy.
Leprosarium facilities are in need of funding.
The Facility administrator was employed to oversee the affairs of the community. He is also saddled with the supervision of the hospital staff, but he complains on how difficult it is to manage the facility on a small budget. On this note, he suggests that the acquiring of an X-ray machine and a full blood analyzer would attract more outpatients to the hospital. Also, if only politicians in Nigeria who go to these facilities during the times of election, promising a better life, would fulfill their promises, leprosy facilities would be conducive enough for its residents.
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It’s very sad that none of the leprosy colonies is functioning again in Nigeria because there’s no intervention fund from government again and even the international organizations are not concern again,all this should be blame on the government because during election they go there for vote and after election they forget them immediately and lots of people are still in this colonies suffering without food.Government should do the needful by giving them find like before so to better their life and totally eradicate the disease.
This clearly shows that our Nigerian Government does not give priority to things that are necessary. The health sector is one sector that is meant to be fully funded and it should be accessible to people at little or no cost. Government should set their priorities right and put health sector on the top of their budget list.
Thw problem with our government is management just for them to continue facilities built on ground handed over to them to cater for the health of the citizenry everything has gone south as usual,that’s the way of the Nigerian government in all sectors,nobody is held accountable for anything and until drastic measures are taken and people being punished our lackadiscal attitudes towards things won’t stop
The health sector is one of the important sector that must not be neglect necessary thing as to been done, government should continue managing this facilities it help people if the facilities is well managed it will reduced the number of people contacting this disease. Our government you are there for us so u can attend to our needs so do the necessary thing in other to satisfy us.
The leprosarium facilities need urgent revitalisation. The government needs to do something tangible to change the facilities. Money should be invested in the health care system that will take care of leprosy patients. They are also human beings like us. They shouldn’t be left to be treated anyhow. Utmost good health care should be provided for their treatment and well-being.
The government no longer provides any financial support to the organization, which makes it very unfortunate that none of the leprosy colonies in Nigeria are operating well again. In order to provide and improve the ways of living of patient there, the government needs to take the necessary action by providing them with funds.
The health sector is one of the important sector that must not neglected in a country. it has clearly shown over the years that our government has not been giving priorities to things that are necessary. In order to reduce the number of people contacting this disease, the government needs to look into, support and take necessary actions to improve the health care system of this country.
One of the problems our facilities lack is continuity.
Most of these places were built with a long-term plan, but once another person takes charge, they tend to forget it.
As those diagnosed with leprosy are restricted in society, then adequate needs should be provided to enhance their comfort.
Providing facilities is necessary but educating people about the disease is another thing. People should be educated about the how they can get infected, what to do after they’ve been infected and also let other members of the community know that stigmatizing people that were formerly infected will affect their mental health which can also lead to depression.
If there were enough health care facilities in the country in sure leprosy would be easily contained. The government should work on this.
The facilities in this country are outdated and really need to be updated part from repairs they should change the equipment.
When it comes to campaigning during election season, our politicians merely make hollow promises, which they promptly forget when the results are known. As a result, many residents of these colonies continue to experience hunger. The government needs to provide the institution with the resources it needs to meet its financial obligations and provide treatment and care for the patients.
There’s nothing as devastating as the way the government of this country operates. I will advise that the government pays rapt To the Health sector Because it has direct impact on human capital.
The surroundings of the leprosarium hospitals need a facelift. The government must take action to make the facilities more suitable for their intended use. Funds must be allocated to the healthcare system so those affected by leprosy can receive the treatment they need.
In the absence of therapy, leprosy has the potential to cause irreversible damage to the area of the body that is affected, including the hands, feet, and eyes. It needs to be attended to by the government.
Leprosy facilities in Nigeria would be favourable enough for their residents if the country’s politicians would keep their election-time promises to improve the lives of leprosy patients and visit these facilities during election campaigns.
This is sad; how will people in the leprosarium facilities not be able to afford to eat? The government should do something about it asap.
These Leprosarium facilities need serious funding so they can be properly run. The federal government should set aside funds in the budget for projects like this.
The health sector is one of the crucial sectors that must not be neglected. The government should continue maintaining these facilities because they help people, and if the facilities are adequately supported, it will limit the number of individuals who come into contact with this disease.
Our entire government needs to be disbanded. They don’t take anything serious at all; none of our sectors is working correctly in this country which is very bad.
The most crucial sector is also lacking funds. A failed system! It’s quite unfortunate. So devastating
Government need to put in more money not making empty promises when their are looking for gov’t position. All the facility needed should be provided
This is a bad thing to be done because people with this kind of illness need to Ben taken care of not starved and discriminated this won’t be happening if it was other foreign countries
People with leprosy are unjustly treated by society. We should learn to live and let live. The government has abandoned this people but the church has done right by them. Political party should be donating to this cause and also getting them better daily meals.
This is not right. How can these helpless people be allowed to pass through such challenges of lack of proper infrastructure for treatment and regular meal. Government need to step in. financial assistance needs to be rendered to ease their livelihood.
If proper care is not taken to make sure that what these people need is readily available for treatment and feeding then we risk being exposed to such kind of disease because they may come out from where they are kept to receive medications. Government must be involve support ECWA church to cater for leprosarium at Ọmu Aran.