On January 29, 2022, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, attended the Weija Leprosarium’s residents and administration in Accra to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World Leprosy Day. He made a fervent plea to stop stigmatizing leprosy patients.
Every January on the final Sunday, people throughout the world mark World Leprosy Day to honor those who have contracted the illness and raise awareness of it.
The National Leprosy Control Program and the Accra Omega Lions Club, along with the Lepers Aid Committee of Ghana, commemorated the day in Accra.
One of the main obstacles in the fight against leprosy, according to Dr. Bawumia, who is also a patron of the Lepers Aid Committee, is the stigmatization of victims in society. He made a plea to everyone present to “open up our hearts to victims.”
“The stigma is coming from years of discrimination and misinformation. People feel that when you touch a cured leper, you will contract the disease. You can imagine what they go through when they are essentially shunned from society,” said Dr. Bawumia.
“I want to admonish all that let us open up our hearts and minds to support the cause of helping lepers in Ghana.’
“One of the best and most fulfilling things to do in your life is to bring smile and joy to those who have been neglected.”
The Vice President added that the observation of the World Lepers Day, is an opportunity to not only lift up the voices of people affected by leprosy throughout the country, but also an opportunity to “raise awareness for a disease many people think does not exist anymore,” and also to raise funds in support of leprosariums.
As part of the ceremony, an appeal for support to expand facilities at the Weija Leprosarium was launched and the Vice President, donated 50,000 Cedis in support, while a representative of the National Chief Imam also donated 5,000 Cedis on his behalf.
The Vice President, while reiterating the Government’s commitment to facilitating the provision of support to leprosariums and lepers, he listed a number of interventions and support the Government has extended to leprosariums across the country in the past six years, including redevelopment and renovation of leprosariums.
The Weija Leprosarium’s Rev. Father Andrew Campbell used the opportunity to thank Vice President Bawumia for always being “ready as a father to help us in any way he can.”
Exceptional people who have dedicated their lives to helping and supporting lepers at the Weija Leprosarium were also honored during the event.
A service member who provided exceptional service at the Weija Leprosarium during her national duty and has chosen to remain there in order to continue helping the healed lepers was also honored by the National Service Secretariat.