In 1952, hundreds of people who were suffering from Leprosy from several parts of Northern Uganda were brought to Alele village in Alero sub-county in present day Nwoya district as a measure of confinement and control of the spread of the disease, but also a testing centre on humans for the disease.
The British Protestant church missionaries, who were operating in most parts of Uganda at the time, established a Leprosy treatment Centre with minor facilities in unipots to house the patients.
It's nearly sixty years since these leprosy victims were brought to Alele, but the suffering of these dejected people has continued without any intervention from governments of NGOs.
Although some of the patients who came from nearby villages managed to get back to their homes after treatment, about 20 who came from faraway places remained in the camp to this day.
Old and without relatives, many of the victims are probably waiting for the day they will meet their maker considering that many don't have children nor property to bequeath.
But a few of them like Yakobo Orach still think that the government should come to their aid and provide some health care services especially now that they are frail and can hardly walk to look for health care facilities.
Orach also says that the British missionaries who set up the camp ought to compensate them for dumping them in Alele in seclusion and away from family members who eventually forgot about them.
Orach developed signs and symptoms of the disease in the early 1940s and had to leave school to seek treatment and say that it was the beginning of the end of his life.
“I developed leprosy signs and symptoms in 1944 from Nyapeya College the current Paida District in west Nile and had to leave school to get treatment in my home town of Kitgum which was more of traditional medicine than conventional.
Orach added that he could not remember the exact number of people who were brought to Alele but insisted that they were many and that many died without any recognition.
“I cannot remember exactly our numbers but many of us died here, though some were lucky enough to have children who are healthy today,” he said.
The disease that leads to the drop-off of limbs left the victims as paupers whose daily bread comes from begging.
Adong Maggi, also a Leprosy patient points out that they survive on begging children in the neighbourhood to help them with household chores.
Adong says that one of their biggest problems is lack of access to medical services. They appealed to the government to establish a nearby health facility to ease their access to health care services.
Another victim Okello Yonna who says that he was relocated from his village in 1952 attacked the current government for neglecting them, and according to him some of them can no longer locate their homes and do not have children, so they are forced to live in squalid conditions, and feel that they are dejects in the community.
Yonna thanked the Favour of God ministries, a Christian NGO – for affording them a free mobile clinic where their wounds were dressed and other diseases treated.
Dr Olango Joseph the acting District health officer said that the leprosy victims are faced with transportation and medical problems because health centers in the region lack these facilities.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and also the eyes, apart from some other structures.
Leprosy is curable and treatment provided in the early stages averts disability.
Multidrug therapy (MDT) treatment has been made available by WHO free of charge to all patients worldwide since 1995, and provides a simple yet highly effective cure for all types of leprosy.
According to official reports received from 121 countries and territories, the global registered prevalence of leprosy at the beginning of 2009 stood at 213 036 cases, while the number of new cases detected during 2008 was 249 007.
High endemicity remains in some areas of Uganda, Angola, Brazil, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, and Tanzania. By A Web design Company
By A Web design Company