Augustine is a 70 year old man living in Bougainville, with 10 children and 30 grandchildren. He was identified as having leprosy by a village health volunteer from Bougainville Healthy Communities Programme about seven months ago and has commenced multi-drug therapy treatment to cure him of the disease. Fortunately his hands and feet are still undamaged.
Then, a few weeks ago, health volunteers noticed patches on two of Augustine’s granddaughters: Ronnie, 10, and Philomina, 8. They were also diagnosed with leprosy and started their treatment. They have a leprosy positive uncle and auntie too.
The girls weren't heavily infected. They had fewer than five patches and no other symptoms – they hadn't really noticed that they had leprosy. They will only need to undergo six months of treatment, picking up their medication from Gagan Health Clinic, only 2 km away from their home. Because they were diagnosed early and their grandfather relatively early, none will suffer lasting disability.
Augustine was very happy that he and his grandchildren have had their leprosy detected early. They feel a little ashamed at having leprosy – it carries a lot of historical stigma – but they haven’t experienced any discrimination from others.