Banavath is 34 years old and living in India with her two children. She was first diagnosed with leprosy after being referred to a hospital in Buchavaram.
She had suffered for many years with numb patches of skin, a common indicator of leprosy. A doctor diagnosed her with multibacillary (MB) leprosy and she began multi drug therapy immediately.
For a lot of people, the diagnosis of leprosy is made far worse by the prejudice and misinformation surrounding the disease. Banavath’s family reacted badly to her diagnosis and refused to support her.
They blamed her for the disease, separating her from her children and isolating her from family gatherings. Her husband treated her badly, depriving her of the necessary support and forcing her to leave their home. She felt completely alone and received no moral or emotional support from her family.
Banavath’s father in law was a kind man and understood the struggles she was facing. He supported her when others wouldn’t and even brought her to medical appointments.
Her father in law’s support brought her in direct contact with one of Lepra’s disability camps, where she was empowered to learn more about her diagnosis and learn how to manage the side effects.
Lepra counselled Banavath, offering her a comforting and supportive environment to heal. They provided her with supportive footwear, necessary as a result of her reduced mobility.
While enduring her own hardships, Banavath became interested in ways she could help others suffering the same way. She became a Community Champion, someone who counsels other leprosy patients and motivates people to attend Lepra’s outreach camps.
She is very active in her local community and has a renewed sense of confidence and self-worth. She hopes to continue helping others and raising awareness for leprosy.
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