Patient Stories

Beauty discovers real beauty – 10th July 2002

BeautyXoki1Beauty XOKI

Beauty is a client of the Leprosy Mission in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. [Look for East London on the map of South Africa for a general idea of where the Eastern Cape Province is located].

She suffers form problems caused by leprosy. Her original classification was borderline lepromatous leprosy

Beauty has disabilities of the hands and feet.

She spent time at the Leprosy Mission’s New Life Centre in the Eastern Cape. This was a rehabilitation centre located at an old leprosy hospital. The New Life Centre was closed some time ago.

Beauty learnt to make dresses and other hand craft items at the New Life Centre.

Two years ago she had family problems and she neglected herself. Beauty had repeated problems with ulcers and infection.

Beauty recently repented and stopped drinking.

Mr Frikkie NAUDÉ, the Leprosy Mission’s Programme Manager in the Eastern Cape, was delighted to meet her again recently at one of his clinics. She was sober, her ulcers were clean and dressed and she too was neat and tidy. Above all, she was in high spirits.

Beauty has started working again and is selling her dresses and other clothing at a taxi rank in one of the towns. She is also very interested in helping other leprosy sufferers and wants to put up Leprosy Mission posters at her trading stall so as to tell other people about leprosy.

The attached photo shows Beauty looking at the Leprosy Mission poster. This poster is distributed widely at clinics to make people aware of leprosy and its treatment.

Family suffering from leprosy on road to recovery – 10th July 2002

Standwa Jama1Standwa JAMA

In September 1999, Standwa JAMA was diagnosed with leprosy. At the time he was twelve years old.

Standwa lives in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Look on a map of South Africa for East London. This will give you an idea of where the Eastern Cape Province is located.

The Leprosy Mission has been running a leprosy control programme in the Eastern Cape since 1981.

Previously, there were two leprosy hospitals in the province, but these were closed a number of years ago as the treatment system concentrated increasingly on home-based care, using MDT.

Standwa was found by the Leprosy Mission’s programme manager, Mr Frikkie Naudé. Frikkie found that Standwa was suffering from multi-bacillary leprosy.

Standwa comes from a very poor family, and was under the care of his aunt at the time of his diagnosis.

Standwa had never been to school and was herding the family’s cattle. Standwa was very frightened of Frikkie and his team, but Frikkie managed to win him over and they became friends.

Unfortunately, Standwa’s father came to fetch him from home and took him away to the city about 1 000 kilometres distant. No-one knew how to get in touch with them.

Frikkie and his team continued to visit the family – no easy task in such a remote area. A very large scale map of South Africa may show the town of Kokstad in the Eastern Cape [North-East of East London]. This town is about 80 kilometres from the Jama home. They eventually found four other members of the family to be suffering from leprosy, meaning that five members altogether were infected. Standwa’s brother, Xolani has leprosy, as do three of his cousins and his granny. Xolani was diagnosed in May 2001. At that time, Standwa reappeared at home and was able to resume treatment. At the time of his diagnosis, Xolani was being taunted by other children because of his swollen lips and nose.

All five of the family members are now receiving treatment.

However, a lot of uncertainty hangs over this family and we would value your prayers as Frikkie strives to help them complete the process.

Hope at last for a young lady – 10th July 2002

Phikiswa2Phikiswa GQOBHOKA

Phikiswa was recently diagnosed as suffering from leprosy.

She lives in the Eastern Cape, a province of South Africa. [Look for East London on a map of South Africa to get a rough idea of where this province is located].

She has lepromatous leprosy and is in ENL reaction.

When she fist showed signs of leprosy, she visited a witchdoctor. She took this treatment for two years and did not improve.

She then visited several clinics and it was only after visiting the dermatology department of one of the main hospitals that leprosy was finally diagnosed. Mr Frikkie NAUDÉ, the Programme Manager for the Leprosy Mission in the Eastern Cape, had given a lecture on leprosy to this department about six months prior to Phikiswa being diagnosed.

The sad part of this story is that Phikiswa is only 23 years old, although she looks like and old woman. It is a local custom to show deference to older people and as a result of this, people call ‘granny’. This is a sign of respect, but of course it is very upsetting for Phikiswa to be treated in this way.

Her family is reluctant to look after her, because of her appearance and because of what people say about her.

They have sent her to her grandmother who is expected to care for her. The grandmother too is disabled and struggles to care for herself as well as two other children who are in her care.

Frikkie managed to convince Phikiswa’s older sister to take care of her. This took a lot of persuading! Her sister will care for her for three months. If there is an improvement during this time, she has promised not to send Phikiswa back to her granny.

Phikiswa is extremely shy because of her looks and tends to cover her face completely with a blanket. She continuously looks at the floor to avoid eye contact with people.

Her prayer is to become healthy again and to be accepted by her family and friends