When Francisco was eventually diagnosed with leprosy, he was provided with the cure. Yet it was too late to save the nerves in his hands and feet.
Unfortunately, although the cure can remove the bacteria from the body and surgery is available to restore movement, currently, there is no treatment to restore nerves damaged by leprosy.
Francisco's doctors did not give him any advice to help him cope with the nerve damage. And so, unable to feel his hands and feet, he developed more and more injuries, which became infected and developed into ulcers.
Francisco was left extremely weak by the infections, and he had no choice but to leave his job.
Happily, Francisco joined one of our self-care groups. These groups provide people with a support network, enabling them to share experiences, knowledge and combat isolation caused by the prejudice of the disease.
Not only has Francisco been able to improve his overall health and well-being by learning to care for any injuries or ulcers, but he has also gained leadership skills which have allowed him to start a new business.
Our group is called 'Okamiherana'. In our local language that means 'We help each other'. This is exactly what we do. I'm very glad the group exists.
I'm learning how to take care of myself properly. That's essential because I have many ulcers on my hands and feet. I wash them every day and I wear my sturdy sandals for protection.
For Francisco, and over 4 million people like him. delayed treatment means that they will endure lifelong disabilities. However, through self-care groups, they can gain skills and knowledge to lead normal, healthier lives and sustain themselves long after treatment.
Help people like Francisco to escape a life of injuries and ulcers.