Trip Report Nov 2012
My visit to the Iberekodo Leper colony at Elega in Oji River, Ogun State, Nigeria.
There are 40 inpatients, some have lived there for over 40 years where they got married and raised their children. The outpatient sufferers come in for the initial diagnosis followed by treatment and appointment for checkups.
I was impressed to learn that all new leprosy patients live in the community and carry out all their daily living activities as everybody in that community. This is primarily to reduce the stigma and isolation attached to leprosy. It was a breath of fresh air to hear that the Ogun State government are in partnership with the German Tuberculosis and Leprosy Authority (GLRA). They support the sufferers with medication and rehabilitation through education / training, trade & support in seeking employment. The government equally encourage and equip leprosy sufferers on areas of basic health and social care.
One of the leprosy sufferers told me that the governor’s wife celebrated her 60th birthday with them this year 2012 and they were very happy to be remembered. How I wish there are more people like the governor’s wife who could and are willing to support.
At my meeting with the patients, I asked them, what their immediate needs were and they stated them as follows:
- To talk to the government about their irregular monthly allowance of N3000 & N5000 from the State & local government respectively. They have only received 4 months payment this year 2012.
- Some of their roofs are licking
- They need support with food provision, some days they go without a meal and depend on charities. A woman said “they do not want to die of hunger”.
- Their water pipe needs urgent repairs
- Some said they need money for their children further / higher education.