Leprosy, the social stigma associated with this particular disease, is so deep rooted that often the scar stays back for one whole lifetime. Both physical recovery and mental healing, they are never too straight forward.
José Ramirez Jr., presently a clinical social worker in Houston, was diagnosed with leprosy when he was 20. For the next seven years, he spent in the renowned National Leprosarium in Carville, La.
Today, at the age of 66, Ramirez is medically declared as completely cured, and at the same time he is painfully aware of the suffocating guilt and shame a leprosy patient suffers from. Even in 2014, extreme public ignorance about fact and features of leprosy has made the situation worse.
To make this world a little better place for many unfortunate victims, Ramirez has taken up the responsibility to spread the right message about leprosy by giving talks to create more awareness amongst common people.
Leprosy, otherwise known as Hansen’s disease, is caused by Mycobacterium leprae, one of the toughest pathogens ever discovered.
Even though today leprosy is classified as a rare kind of disease, also availability of significant amount of medication has made the condition less stressful; yet this deadly microbe doesn’t hesitate to strike hard, around 200,000 people a year, mostly in Brazil, India and other developing nations.
Leprosy patients in Korea have been fighting for long to live a life with dignity. Reports suggest that “In a landmark ruling in April, a court in the city of Suncheon ordered the national government to pay between $30,000 and $40,000 to each of 19 leprosy victims. South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare provides $10.5 million in annual funding for housing as well as medical expenses for leprosy victims. It also supports private aid groups, including the one that runs Geumo Farm.”
In spite of some sincere efforts by few sensitive minds, most of the times, the leprosy sufferers live with the intense anguish of isolation, loneliness, despair and hope that were long dead.