Leprosy News from Kindwitwi – November 2021

The team on the ground have reported to us that over the summer, three new leprosy patients were detected. Two were detected from Nambunju Village, which is 58 kms from Utete Hospital.

From first-hand experience (when your author visited Kindwitwi in 2009) I can tell you that it is a good hour’s walk from Kindwitwi to Utete Hospital on hot and dusty roads.  You need to be careful when the big bus, bringing passengers from Kibiti to Utete, races past you!  One patient was diagnosed at Ndundutawa some 67 kms east of Utete District Hospital and the last person was found at Naminywili Village 130 kms from The District Hospital.

The heat and uneven roads make the 130 kilometres feel much further.

Reaching these remote villages is no mean feat. The medical team that does this vital outreach work travel by motorbike.  Diagnoses of these patients is done by the District TB and Leprosy Coordinator. Our outreach coordinator told us that “people feel comfortable after they have been diagnosed because they know that they will be treated and cured”.

Symptoms of leprosy (especially in the early stages) can seem rather benign, for example the appearance of dark circles or patches on the skin.  These dark circles do not cause itching or irritation but do tend to go numb in these areas.  This means that burns or cuts and scrapes skin go unnoticed or unattended, and often become  infected; it’s these infections that lead to longer term problems, and ultimately amputations.