Via Thomson Reuters: Leprosy neglected in Nigeria as health spotlight turns away.
After six years of visiting hospitals and traditional healers across Nigeria, 23-year-old Chidinma Mmadubuike finally discovered last year that the baffling sores and lesions dotted across her body were symptoms of leprosy.
By the time Mmadubuike was diagnosed at the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in southeast Nigeria, her face was deformed and her husband had driven the young mother out of their home in Lagos and taken custody of their child.
"He was tired of spending money on trying to find out what was wrong with me," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
One of the oldest known diseases, first mentioned in written records in 600 BC, leprosy still effects millions of people. Between 200,000 and 300,000 new leprosy cases have been detected globally every year since 2005, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In 2016, Nigeria recorded 2,576 new cases, of which 149 were children, ranking third among African countries with the highest burden of leprosy, after Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Experts are worried that Nigeria could be facing a re-emergence of leprosy, at a time when the global health spotlight and funding focuses on diseases like HIV and malaria.
"The government is no (longer) responding to assist us. Most of the support we get now is from churches and individuals," said Joshua Okpara, project director of the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre where Mmadubuike is being treated.