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Autumn 2019

Dasamanti’s Story

Lepra and The Rotary Foundation Work to Beat Leprosy Together Lepra were pleased to welcome Mr Deepak Kapur, a senior Rotary leader in India, to London recently. Hosted by our Chair of Trustees, Charles Bland at The Athenaeum Club, Mr Kapur met with our CEO, Geoff Prescott and Trustee, Nayan Patel to discuss ways that Lepra and Rotary can work together to help people affected by leprosy in India.

Dasamanti was just 6 when she developed skin lesions on her hand, back, side and thigh. Gradually, her fingers on her right had began to claw, affecting her ability to move her hand. A local health worker encouraged her parents to take Dasamanti for further examination and treatment. Unfortunately, her parents did not understand the urgency and it took a further 5 months for multibacillary leprosy to be correctly diagnosed. Dasamanti began multi-drug therapy (MDT) for a year and while this cured her leprosy, the clawing of her hand remained and the little finger began to stiffen which left her unable to help the family with chores or attend school. She recognised that her friends were keeping their distance from her, even though she did not realise this was due to prejudice towards her condition. Meanwhile her parents found it difficult to commit to further treatment to improve her disability, as they needed to work to feed the family.

During a follow-up visit, a Lepra physiotherapy worker was able to assure her parents of the value of physiotherapy and reconstructive surgery to ensure a better future for Dasamanti. She spent 10 days prior to her operation having pre-operative physiotherapy, and then underwent reconstructive surgery to correct her clawed fingers. The surgery took place at the Lepra’s Sonepur Referral Centre, in Odisha, India with her grandmother accompanying her, and meant she regained function in her hand before her 9th birthday.

We are grateful to Mr Kapur for taking the time to discuss leprosy with us and look forward to working with him in future towards a day where we will beat leprosy together.

Today Dasamanti is a happy child who enjoys studying and has come through her leprosy experience without any long term effects. With your help, children like Dasamanti will be found and diagnosed sooner, limiting the disabilities that occur if this cruel disease is not treated early.

Lepra, 28 Middleborough, Colchester, CO1 1TG Tel. +44 (0)1206 216700 Fax +44 (0)1206 762151 Patron: Her Majesty The Queen Registered Charity number 213251 (England and Wales) SCO39715 (Scotland)

L-R: Nayan Patel, Deepak Kapur, Charles Bland

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