For thousands of years, the stigma has been the greatest emotional pain for people with leprosy and their relatives.
The consequence of leprosy is the same as its cause, but on a much more serious scale: more profound misery. This vicious spiral means that the fact of having the disease means that the patient and his or her family are physically, psychologically, socially and economically even lower down the ladder. In ignorant societies, stigma and exclusion are meted out with no compassion, whether to a mother or a young child. It is a stigma that turns away family members, excludes them from their community, isolates them, leaves them unable to cope, makes them beggars, and makes their life even more hopeless. They have no chance of work or education, their life is meaningless. They are often officially excluded from society and do not have the same rights as healthy people. The stigma and its consequences are much more painful than the disease itself.
The grandfather had leprosy at a young age, yet his fit as a fiddle offspring are still stigmatised.
There is no longer any justification for stigma and exclusion.
- First, because leprosy is only a mildly contagious disease.
- Secondly, humanity's 95% is basically immune to it so we would never catch it.
- Thirdly, excellent medicine stops the pathogen from infecting the body within a few hours.
Leprosy is just one of many diseases, and patients should not be excluded, but cured, cared for and loved.