Ruby comes to our Cuttack clinic with her husband. They’ve left their three year old son behind because the 80 km journey would be too much for him.

Ruby sits with our doctors as they examine the nodules that dot her arms and legs. She says they are exceedingly painful leave marks on her skin.

Ruby has only recently been diagnosed with leprosy. In June 2016 she visited a medical college who referred her to us where we’ve been providing a course of treatment. While this is usually multi-drug therapy, Ruby has an unusual case of leprosy and so she has to also take some steroids in order to effectively treat the disease.

Our staff are also providing both her and her husband with some counselling. She says that thankfully her husband has been very supportive. This has made a huge difference because, for many women, a life with leprosy can mean divorce or abuse.

Ruby still worries about what other people will say though. Since June the family have been travelling the long distance to the clinic each week to pick up Ruby’s medication. This is something an ASHA could deliver to their home but the family was so scared that others would discover their secret should they see the ASHA. Recently that’s all changed and our staff are now visiting the family home.

Ruby says people are starting to wonder why and she knows it’s only a matter of time before they find out that she has been affected by leprosy.

Our staff are talking her through how to deal with the stigma and how to help others learn that leprosy can be treated.

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