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Lepers Cry For Support

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Lepers at the Leprosy Rehabilitation Center in Suakoko, Bong County have complained of lack of support from government to improve their livelihood.

Speaking to this paper recently in Suakoko, a spokesperson for the lepers claimed government had abandoned them in the past five years which has exacerbated their hardship and relegated them to street baggers.

Justin Togbah lamented that due to neglect by government, 10 of their colleagues have died from various diseases caused by lack of drugs and food. He said despite their health condition, most of them are constrained to make gardens in order to survive.

Justin warned that if nothing were done to address the current situation at the center, the plight of most of   the inmates there will further deteriorate. He said despite persistent appeal to government for assistance, response still seam far away.

According to him, besides the shortage of drugs and food, water and sanitation pose a serious challenge for them due to the breakdown of the only hand pump that previously supplied   water to over 50 inhabitants.

He stressed the need for urgent rehabilitation of the hand pump because they have resorted to fetching water from nearby creeks to drink and cook despite the risk it poses to their health.

When contacted, the focal person of the TB and Leprosy Control Program at the Bong County Health Team acknowledged the difficulties being faced by the lepers, noting there are limitations at the county level in providing intervention.

Sumoiwou Z. Kezele disclosed that donors support to the county health team is largely concentrated at the TB control component of the program due to limited fund.

However, Mr. Kezele said lepers at the center are being provided cards to go for regular medication, while efforts were being exerted to ensure they have food through the county health team as was previously done.

The TB and Leprosy Control Program Focal person further disclosed that technicians from the Phebe Hospital will be sent at the center to assess the level of damage done on the only hand pump for subsequent repair to restore water supply to the lepers.

The Suakoko Leprosy Rehabilitation Center was established during the administration of the late President William V.S Tubman. Lepers were collected from around the country and taken to undergo rehabilitation and medication at the expense of government, which seems not to be happening now.

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