There are a number of diseases that affect a large number of people and hence creating awareness about them becomes very important. One such disease that is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind is ‘Leprosy’. It is known to cause severe infections on skin and a great deal of nerve damage to arms and legs. Since it disfigures the skin with sores and makes the patient look very different it has always been associated with isolation and discrimination of the patient. Due to this behaviour, it is very important to educate and aware people about the disease. That is why ‘World Leprosy Day’ is being observed around the globe on last Sunday of January every year. The aim was to create knowledge and awareness about this deadly disease and to teach people its symptoms and break the myths related to it.
There are many myths associated with this disease. Let’s try and decode them:
- Leprosy is not curable: Earlier people thought that it is a curse and cannot be cured but with the advancement in medical science leprosy is now 100% curable
- Leprosy can happen if you touch a patient: This is one of the most common myths that leprosy is contagious, but it is hardly true. No one can catch leprosy just by touching the patient
- Your fingers, toes, and limbs fall off: Since this disease affects the nerves of hands and feet hence they become feeling less. In such cases, it is more likely for such patients to get their fingers and toes cut, burn or injured. That is the only reason this myth came about otherwise leprosy never causes fingers and toes to fall off
- Leprosy can disfigure every patient: If caught and cured at an early stage patient will have no disfiguring on skin. Maybe some minor patches will remain but disfiguring might not happen
- Leprosy patients cannot lead a normal life: It has been seen that many leprosy-affected patients are able to continue with their normal life and tasks. Once cured, a leprosy patient can easily take part in community life
- Leprosy happens because of past sins: Earlier the cures and knowledge was not available for this disease that is why it was thought so that leprosy is caused due to immoral behaviour of past. This is simply untrue
- Leprosy patients must be isolated: Once again, a myth that is based on lack of knowledge about the disease
A leprosy patient is already struggling to lead a normal life and complete his/her daily tasks and on top of it, they need to fight superstitious beliefs also. Let us all try and educate ourselves on this ‘World leprosy day’ and help the ones that are suffering.