Leprosy patients given
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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 14, 2007
Leprosy patients given a fresh lease of life at Gwalior care centre
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Leprosy patients given a fresh lease of life at Gwalior care centre

While misconceptions about leprosy will take time to cease, scores of leprosy patients have found shelter at a centre in Gwalior after being cast away by their loved ones.

Gwalior, May 14 : While misconceptions about leprosy will take time to cease, scores of leprosy patients have found shelter at a centre in Gwalior after being cast away by their loved ones.

Set up in 1974, the 'Manav Kushth Seva Ashram' or 'Human Leprosy Care Centre' is home to 117 leprosy inmates.

Leprosy, a chronic disease caused by Mycobacterium Leprae, is curable and not highly contagious, as is the popular belief which leads people to discard the ones suffering from the disease.

Situated on the Agra-Mumbai Highway, the centre is haven to the inmates who now lead a life of dignity, finding solace in each other's comapany.

The inmates keep themselves busy with various activities that may range from growing vegetables inside the centre or doing other chores like cleaning and rearing goats to remain busy.

The lack of proper medical facilities forces the inmates to tend to their injuries and wounds themselves, as they simultaneously grapple with ways to find food and other basic amenities.

"Earlier, people used to shun leprosy patients, but now with proper awareness created by the government, families have started accepting patients. But, we don't want to go back to our homes, because we don't feel like burdening our families," said Ramlal Gorkha, an inmate.

"Sometimes, I do feel like going back to my family. But, the kind of environment and affection I get here, is unmatchable. The way we live like one big family, caring and sharing each other's sorrows, I don't feel like going home," said Sufal Chandra Das, an inmate from Calcutta.

The inmates also seek donations for the institution."I requested the District Collector to increase financial assistance to our centre.... We get 10,000 rupees (245 dollars) for 117 inmates, which amounts to less than 100 rupees per person (2.45 dollars).

The amount is insufficient to survive in today's scenario. I would request the authorities to increase the financial grant to us," said Bharat Kumar, the coordinator of the centre.

Leprosy, mainly affecting nerves and skin, was considered a public health problem in 1985.

Approximately 410,000 new cases of the disease were detected during 2004 and by 2005, 290,000 cases were undergoing treatment for leprosy.

Nine countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America account for 75 percent of the global disease burden.

ANI

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