“Health education- Apath to cosy atomosphere for a poor leprosy patient”” [Archives:2003/673/Health]”

October 2 2003

Dr.Abdul Rahim Al-Samie
Mr.Abdulla Saif

Hadhramout governorate has the biggest number of leprosy patients in the Republic of Yemen. We have spared no effort to discover new cases so as to lift up the heavy burden of social stigma from the shoulders of leprosy patients. We came across a very effective incidence during our field visit to one of Hadhramout districts. Its details are mentioned hereunder.
We took the opportunity of a wedding party to conduct health education. It came to our surprise that the bridegroom is a son of a leprosy patient. When we inquired about the father, we were informed that he had been isolated and shunned at the top of a mountain. We could not believe it. We wonder how a father was deprived of seeing his son a bridegroom and of attending his wedding party just because he was a leprosy patient.
We set our heart on climbing that mountain and to convince that man, Utaif, to come down and to take part in his son's wedding party. When his eyes caught the sight of the strangers, he flew away shouting at the top of his voice “Keep away! I am a leprosy patient, I will infect you” But we kept on going forward. We calmed him down and we tried to set him free from the tie of inner fear feeling .Then, we asked him “why haven't you attended your son's wedding party?” “I have been isolated here for many years lest I should infect others.” He replied.
We conducted the health education, which was very difficult, so as to convince him that he was no longer a leprosy patient and could mix with others. With great efforts he agreed to come down the mountain and to leave the lonely life forever. Soon after he agreed to leave this place, we pulled down the tattered hut he used to live in. We ate with him in front of others and convinced the residents that there is no harm in getting mixed with him. At last, they got convinced.
Finally, we left the patient to enjoy peace of mind and live in the cozy atmosphere surrounded by his family.