Man ostracised over leprosy stigma in Kendrapara

Kendrapara: At a time when the government has rolled out free medication and assistance for leprosy affected persons and has targets to eradicate the disease in a few years time, the lack of awareness on the disease has forced a man to live a life of complete loneliness.

Sahdev Sethi of Ramachandrapur village under Mahakalpada block of the district has been forced to live an abandoned life after he was diagnosed with leprosy.

Sethi, ostracised from the village because of the disease, now stays in a temporary hut constructed by his family members.

“Villagers have completely ostracised me. Life has become extremely difficult as I am barred from using basic necessities like water. Some days I sleep without having food and water,” Sahdev said.

His family members said that Sahdev came to know about the disease about three months back and underwent treatment at Cuttack SCB Medical. But due to lack of money, he had to return without completing the full course of treatment.

Heartbroken over his condition, Sahdev’s wife said “The temporary hut is the only place where my husband stays after he was ostracized. We don’t know what to do.”

Meanwhile, the local residents scared of the disease admitted that they are apprehensive about the infection which might spread if Sahdev is allowed to stay with everyone.

“We are scared of this disease and worried about how to live with someone who is suffering from leprosy,” Ramachandrapur resident Saraswati Khatua said.

On the other hand, social activists have urged the government and other organisations to come forward for Sahdev’s help.

“Steps must be taken by government and non-government bodies to spread sensitisation about the disease and the myth surrounding it,” Biraja Prasanna Pati said.

Meanwhile, the district administration has assured all kinds of support for Sahdev. “We will admit him to the hospital and ensure that he gets a monthly pension,” District Leprosy Officer Nihar Ranjan Prahraj said.

 

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