Bandarulanka Narayanamma is 65 years old and lives in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
For over 10 years, Bandarulanka has lived with the physical consequences of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF). Before accessing the specialist knowledge and support provided by Lepra, she visited various public and private healthcare facilities who were unable to provide the correct support and as such, she developed a ‘grade 2 disability’ in her left foot. Following an eventual referral to Lepra’s specialist services, Bandarulanka received vital health care support including; self-care techniques, counselling and therapeutic exercises which over time, is gradually helping to improve her condition, although she still struggles with acute, painful attacks which can last for weeks and are truly debilitating.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that Bandarulanka has become fully dependant on her son, who works as a tailor in the local community. During lockdown however, the family faced significant financial hardship as local tradespeople were unable to continue working due to the strict restrictions placed on the nation. During this time, Bandarulanka’s family received food supplies and dry ration kits to help them through the most challenging months of the lockdown.
Bandarulanka explained that there were initially some concerns and hesitancy about the vaccination but the family soon realised the importance of protecting themselves against COVID-19. They approached the local government health facilities to get vaccinated but were unable to access the service due to high demand and the difficulties presented by her disability.
“There were huge queues of people and it is very difficult to me to stand for so long because of the swelling in my leg.”
Bandarulanka was thrilled to find out about the vaccination drive by Lepra and Effect Hope and she was well supported through the whole process. As a person affected by LF, she was given priority transport to the centre and staff helped her through each stage of the process, from registration, booking the appointment and receiving the vaccination.
“Now we are happy and the fear that COVID-19 will affect us is no more. After we were vaccinated, people in our community gained confidence and many then went forward to get their own COVID-19 vaccination. My sincere thanks to Lepra and Effect Hope for helping us in these difficult times. Without the support and counselling of Lepra staff, we would not be able to get the vaccine and we would still be living in fear of COVID-19.”