Stigmatizing cured lepers threatens their mental health

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Gracia Helarie Fraikue, second runner-up of the 2020 Miss Health Ghana pageantry, says cured lepers need to be shown love so that they feel part of the society.

She said this during a visit to the Godopke Lepers Village in Ho, as she donated some food items, Personal Protective Equipment as well as sensitizing them on ways to safeguard their lives amid Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking in an interview at the sidelines of the visit, Ms. Fraikue, a student dietitian at the University of Health and Allied Science said she wanted to spend time with the cured lepers so that they don’t feel neglected which affects their mental health.

“I decide to undertake this visit to the lepers’ village because I feel people don’t pay much attention to them despite being cured of leprosy. This stigmatization does affect their mental health which could lead to other health complications.

“I also took time to educate them about COVID-19 protocols and ways they can boost their immunity with the intake of some fruits and vegetables,’’ she said.

Madam Gladys Akyere Rockson, Chief Executive Officer of Lamrock Agency, organisers of the beauty pageantry, said their platform was geared towards leading the fight against stigmatization which she believes has an implication on one’s mental health.

“I want to first of all commend Ms. Fraikue for choosing to embark on this project. It is important we show love to the cured lepers and let them feel a sense of care. We want to change the narrative against stigmatizing people living with this kind of condition and is a step in the right direction.”

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