If you have leprosy, you will face isolation

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Leprosy Still a Stigma


People used to turn their heads when they walked past the leprosy camp. Nothing much has changed. If you have leprosy, you will face isolation. This was the case in the old leprosy colonies, and still is in the most modern areas of the capital. Hairdresser Blessing has been cured, but: “Customers keep away, they won't let me touch their heads.”
In Nigeria, Damien Foundation carries the fight against leprosy and against stigma.

The fight against leprosy in Nigeria

Nigeria, a giant of poverty

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Leprosy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

The 5 Challenges

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Damien Foundation in Nigeria fights against leprosy. Stories of patients and medical staff.

What is Leprosy?

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Mobile Clinic in the Slums

Two fully loaded pick-up trucks belonging to Damien Foundation stop at the entrance to the Okobaba slum in the city of Lagos. Doctors, nurses and a translator carry the medicine and other medical equipment through the maze of alleyways, deep into the heart of the slum.

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Damien Foundation in Nigeria. Patients suffering from leprosy, and the patients’ families.

Damien Foundation in Nigeria fights against leprosy.

High-level Surgery

When amputation appears inevitable, Damien Foundation funds the surgery. This is also the case in the remote leprosy camp in Ogbomoso, a city in the state of Oyo in south-western Nigeria.

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Right to Basic Comfort

It is shortly after noon and the residents of the leprosy camp in Oyon are resting in the shade of their home. There is a pleasant atmosphere about the place. Alani is helping his friend Ayo to shave. Since the leprosy deformed his hands Ayo has found it difficult to shave himself.

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Leprosy camp

Leprosy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Right to an Income

Mohammed Baba is a university graduate and had a good job with the Ministry of Education: until he got leprosy, lost his job and was forced to live in a hovel in the leprosy colony in Lagos. “We are entirely dependent on the charity of people

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The Stigma Remains

Damien Foundation arranged for Mr. Appy to follow a course in shoe making. Since then he has made special sandals and prostheses for all the camp, but still dreams of returning to his home village.

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Damien Foundation in Nigeria fights against leprosy.

TEXTS: Wendy Huyghe
PHOTOS: Tim Dirven @T.Dirven for Damien Foundation


  • Indifference kills, Damien Foundation heals

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