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  About Leprosy

The Masanga Leprosy Hospital, which was the former name of The Masanga Hospital, was before the civil war primarily a hospital for Leprosy.

There were facilities for the treatment of Leprosy and it also gave a lot of people the possibility of educating themselves as carpenters or seamstresses at the workshops attached to the hospital.

Historically lepers have often been stigmatized, because the disease causes massive changes in peoples' appearance, and because it has been feared as a contagious disease.

The Hospital gave the sufferers the chance to come back to their community not as someone disabled and in need of care and maintenance, but as someone capable of supporting themselves and contributing to the economy of their family and community.

  Leprosy often causes massive scarring of limbs and face

Previously leprosy was widespread across the globe, but the disease is now contained to a few countries in the developing world, in Africa and Asia, and parts of South America

Most people catch the disease from long and close contact through infected skin, but the disease is considered one of the least contagious diseases.

If patients suffer from immune deficiencies, which is often the case in developing countries, the disease will start as rashes and lumps mostly on hands and face. The lumps can develop into sores, that can affect bones, and can lead to loss of fingers and toes. Further damage can be inflicted on the nervous system, and develop lesions of mucous membranes and risk blindness.

If you have a normal immune system, there are usually few or no symptoms. But you can develop numbness, and thereby cause damage to yourself such as pressure wounds or burns through carelessness.

Today the Hospital still treats many lepers, but in general the number of infected are falling all over Africa. The occurence is now down to about 1.06 per 10,000 inhabitants, and if you follow the normal course of treatment, your chances are much better than previously.

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