Mr Janardan Singh is 44 years old and works in construction in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Janardan was suffering from body patches, facial inflammation and nodules, and was diagnosed with leprosy just before a nationwide lockdown in India, in March 2020. The facial nodules had altered the way his face looked, which in turn caused Janardan to suffer from discrimination at work, in his community and even within his family.
At the time Janardan was referred to Lepra’s Project Officer for treatment, he was determined to remove the facial nodules through cosmetic treatment. However, after treatment, regular counselling and follow up sessions, Janardan has recovered. A few facial nodules remain, but Janardan no longer worries about them, as the counselling sessions have helped him see himself and his life above this issue. The lockdown did not stop Janardan’s treatment or recovery.
Without knowledge, treatment and psychological support, a person suffering from leprosy with visible facial disfigurement may go on to suffer from severe depression and anxiety. Studies from prior to COVID-19 point to one in two people affected by leprosy suffering with moderate to severe depression and anxiety. This needs to be addressed so that everyone has the opportunity to lead a life free from discrimination, worry and low self-esteem.