Almost 5,000 people live in a ‘leprosy colony’ in a region called Rumbek, in South Sudan. They have been banished from other towns and villages as they’re seen as ‘unclean’. 95% of people who contract M. leprae do not develop the disease. Leprosy is curable. The treatments are provided free by WHO.
JUBA OCTOBER 8: Almost 5,000 people live in what is known as a ‘leprosy colony’ in a region called Rumbek, in South Sudan. The people live in dire poverty and are constantly fighting for survival. They have been banished from other towns and villages as they’re seen as ‘unclean’.
Colm Flynn takes us inside the colony for a rare look at how the people live, and how one Irish volunteer named Noeleen Loughran, is supporting the people with food, medication and shelter.
Leprosy is a long-term infection by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Infection can lead to damage of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This nerve damage may result in a lack of ability to feel pain, which can lead to the loss of parts of a person’s extremities from repeated injuries or infection through unnoticed wounds.
Leprosy symptoms may begin within one year, but, for some people, symptoms may take 20 years or more to occur. Leprosy is spread between people, although extensive contact is necessary. Leprosy has a low pathogenicity, and 95% of people who contract M. leprae do not develop the disease.
Leprosy is curable with multidrug therapy. Treatment of paucibacillary leprosy is with the medications dapsone, rifampicin, and clofazimine for six months. Treatment for multibacillary leprosy uses the same medications for 12 months. These treatments are provided free of charge by the World Health Organization.