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General News of Sunday, 17 May 2015

Source: GNA

Mahama canvasses against stigmatisation of healed lepers

President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday called on families of people suffering from leprosy or cured of the disease to re-integrate them to live normal lives as if they are no longer contagious.

"There is the need to educate the public against some perceptions that has been held over the years about lepers and the Leprosarium ...What kills the soul is when people are stigmatised in the society," he said.

President Mahama made the call when he visited the Weija Leprosarium to donate quantity of food items for the upkeep of inmates at the centre.

The items included bags of rice, boxes of milk, soap, cooking oil, water, packs of toilet roll and a bull.

President Mahama whose visit was in fulfillment of a promise he made years back also appealed to Christian and other charitable organisations to support the centre to cater for the needs of the inmates, since it is largely dependent on charity.

He said governance is not about dwelling on the most affluent people in the society, but by giving support to the vulnerable and the most marginalised to have decent living conditions.

He said government would continue to roll out programmes that would empower the vulnerable to gain better living conditions.

President Mahama said government would increase the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme from 150,000 to 200,000 households in the coming days.

He also gave the assurance that government would liaise with the Weija Leprosarium Committee to source funds for the completion of projects at the Nkachana Leprosarium.

The President Commended Reverend Father Andrew Campbell for the support he had over the years given to the centre and his humanitarian interventions in other sectors such as care for children in some health facilities.

Fr Campbell who received the items on behalf of the centre commended President Mahama for the donation and for fulfilling his promise to visit the Leprosarium.

He called on faith-based organisations to initiate educational programmes that could dissuade the public from stigmatising healed lepers in the society.