Ogun State Government has renewed its commitment towards ensuring a leprosy-free society and to ensure that the age-long disease was no longer a source of shame, stigma and prejudice in the society
The Commissioner, Ministry of Women affairs and Social Development, Hon. Oluwafunmilayo Efuwape made this known during the celebration of the 2020 world leprosy Day, with the theme,” Overturnning the Stigma of Leprosy”, held at the Women Development Centre, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta.
According to her, “despite the progress of science and the fact that leprosy can be treated with drugs, just like other diseases, there are still people suffering from the unwanted discrimination that exist towards leprosy”.
Efuwape said her Ministry would continue to create awareness of the existence of leprosy as a disease in the society and sensitize people against stigmatization, saying government was commemorating the Day with an empowerment programme to encourage those affected and make them self-reliant.
She enjoined beneficiaries to make judicious use of tools provided and get themselves fully established.
Earlier in her speech, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Oluranti Oladeinde, said the effects of leprosy were worsened by the negative stigma surrounding the disease, hence the 2020 World Leprosy Day celebration focused on ending discrimination, stigma and prejudice by debunking common myths associated with the disease.
“Although, progress has been achieved in recent decades, leprosy has been forgotten by the society, thereby leaving the affected to be ignored and isolated. I want to call on every member of the society to collaborate with the State government towards ensuring a leprosy free society by 2030’’, she stated.
In her lecture, the Principal Scientific Officer, Ministry of Health, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Adu, informed that, the disease was air borne and contagious, enjoining people living with it to ensure they maintain a clean environment and visit government’s hospitals, where the treatments are available free of charge.