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World Leprosy Day: Nigerians urged to stop stigmatizing victims

The Leprosy Mission, Nigeria (TLMN) in Niger State, has urged Nigerians to shun stigmatizing victims, saying compassion towards them is the surest way for faster healing.
The Community Relations Officer of TLMN and also Coordinator of TLMN Volunteers in Niger State, Habila Daniel Diko, made the call during a sanitation exercise by Volunteers at the Leprosarium in Minna on Saturday.

According to him, the exercise was part of activities lined up by TLMN to offer patients free medical attention, three meals daily and giving out prosthetic limbs to those who have amputated legs.

Speaking on the theme of this year’s World Leprosy Day, ‘Beat Leprosy’, he noted that it encapsulates the dual objectives of eradicating the stigma associated with leprosy and promoting the dignity of people affected by the disease.

Habila said, “Although the disease is less contaminable but it is still very much around as there are cases of even little children with leprosy.

“I look forward to a society where leprosy is no longer a source of stigma but rather an opportunity to demonstrate compassion and respect for all individuals.”

The Community Relations Officer TLMN also revealed that children of patients who are in the community are given scholarship, with full learning materials.

“For those who are healed and wish to go back home, we support them with low cost apartment and some amount of money to start up small businesses so they can take care of themselves,” he added.

Also, Secretary of the TLMN Volunteers, Mrs Larai Ezekiel, noted the need for interventions and support from well meaning Nigerians for patients at the Leprosarium.

According to her, the patients are not only indigenes of Niger State but from other states across Nigeria.

The World Leprosy Day is observed internationally every year on the last Sunday of January to increase the public awareness on leprosy or Hansen’s Disease.

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