Precious (27) looks around her fearfully in the waiting room of the Yaba Leprosy Clinic in the capital city of Lagos. She has had strange spots on her skin for the last year, especially around her neck. A dermatologist has referred her to the clinic. “I don't want leprosy. I don't want to end up like a lot of the people around here”, she whispers.
Doctor Osman (also the director of Damien Foundation in Nigeria), examines her. Precious does have leprosy, he tells her. “But not to worry. It is not the type which affects the nervous system.” Precious does not appear to be consoled by his words. She is afraid that her children might get it and become deformed. Doctor Osman takes the time to reassure her. She has come in good time. “In three months, when you have stopped breast feeding, come back, and we will start your treatment. Rest assured, everything will be okay.”
TEXTS: Wendy Huyghe
PHOTOS: Tim Dirven @T.Dirven for Damien Foundation