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Sunday, 02 April 2023
How long distances to health centres hinder leprosy fight in Masindi

How long distances to health centres hinder leprosy fight in Masindi

Leprosy patients in Masindi District are finding challenges in accessing their drugs in government health facilities due to long distances they have to endure, and sometimes find when the drugs are out of stock. 

Dr Zaccheus Buhanga, the Masindi leprosy focal person said leprosy patients in the district are too weak and with a lot of bodily disabilities to walk long distances for any kind of treatment.

"We get our leprosy drugs through the regional leprosy focal person, I deliver them myself to patients because they will never come to health centres due to long distances they have to walk and yet they are too weak," he said.

According to Dr Buhanga, Masindi has 26 patients on leprosy treatment who are at risk of spreading the disease to more people in their homes and neighbourhoods.

Leprosy is a chronic, curable infectious disease mainly causing skin lesions and nerve damage. Symptoms include; light-coloured or red skin patches with reduced sensation, numbness and weakness in hands and feet.

Mr Bright Kirungi, a caretaker of a leprosy patient says the drugs are always given to them free of charge, though due to some challenges, they don’t get it in time.

Mr James Alema, a parent of a leprosy patient, wants the government to increase its efforts in the fight against leprosy disease by ensuring that drugs are always available at health centres.

"Once leprosy ceased to be a high-profile public health concern, the government stopped actively seeking out cases but this should change because many people are suffering in silence," he said.

During the periods of drug stockouts at government centres, leprosy patients are forced to pay between Sh30,000 and sh50,000 to access them at private health facilities.

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