16 Oct Leprosy care in Banke
Leprosy has been a key pillar of INF’s healthcare services in Nepal since its inception in the 1950s.
INF Nepal’s Shining Hospital in Banke district is an important location for this work, with leprosy more prevalent in the Terai plains along Nepal’s southern border with India.
Many people are unaware of the signs of leprosy, which still carries a major stigma that can lead to people being viewed as ‘cursed’ by their families and communities. Leprosy can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment, but if left too long it can lead to life-long disabilities with nerve damage resulting in the crippling of hands and feet, paralysis, and blindness.
An INF Nepal project is helping raise the awareness of leprosy symptoms in Banke district, as well as improving the understanding and skills or healthcare workers and community-based health volunteers.
The project began in 2021 and over three years aims to reduce the incidence of leprosy, while also improving the health and quality of life for people who are diagnosed with this condition.
Cricket fan Puskar gets leprosy diagnosis and treatment in Banke
Puskar, a 10-year-old boy from the far-western district of Kailali, is inspired by cricketers including successful Nepali players who are making a name for themselves in the globally-renowned Indian Premier League.
However, his sporting dreams have been disrupted by a skin condition and numbness, which his family didn’t realise were early signs of leprosy.
As his condition deteriorated, in the middle of 2022 his grandfather brought him to Bheri Zonal Hospital. He was then referred to INF Nepal’s Shining Hospital in Banke, where further tests confirmed a diagnosis of leprosy.
There were some challenges in his early treatment, which included being admitted to Shining Hospital for over a month, but with appropriate treatment his condition improved and he has been able to continue with his medication at home.
INF staff continue to support him with routine check-ups as, with the support of his family, Puskar continues his education and enjoys developing his cricketing skills.