OTLEY AND DISTRICT MENíS FORUM
Our talk on the first of December was by Pauline Ratcliffe who told us about the work of the Leprosy Mission and despite general view, it is still with us ,particularly in poorer countries. On retirement from work,Pauline joined the Mission and has spent much time at a hospital near Kathmandu in Nepal in the foothills of the Himalayas. Located in a most beautiful area the hospital is primitive in construction and has been seriously damaged by recent earthquakes making it unsafe and forcing many of the activities to be undertaken outside.
Pauline told us there are taboos to overcome in order to treat sufferers. In some places it is seen as a punishment from God . Thus when symptoms first occur, the person is loath to admit them thus delaying treatment.The condition causes no pain and this is another reason why they fail to report it.
Patients are taught to deal with their limitations in a kindly way. Thus as they cannot feel pain, they must be taught to deal carefully with heat such as fire and with ovens. Despite all the difficulties it is clear that Pauline found it a happy and loving place.