Thank you for giving hope during this COVID-19 pandemic! People affected by leprosy are even more vulnerable now than ever before. Many live in close living quarters crowded housing, in makeshift shelters within poor and dangerous settlements. Thank you for giving hope to people like Phisto (pictured above, left) and his younger brother Lawrence.
Fortunately, 11-year-old Lawrence, was diagnosed with leprosy at the same time as his brother Phisto. He’s been able to complete his full course of Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT), and is now cured! (Praise God!) But for Phisto his journey with leprosy has been more complex…
The boys were finally diagnosed because Phisto, then 16, visited a local clinic due to a persistent headache. It was there that he described his other symptoms which hadn’t gone away. For two years Phisto had noticed discoloured patches developing on his skin in various places. His eyes had also begun to go red.
He had noticed his hands were not functioning like they should, and they felt numb (all early signs of leprosy).
After being referred to a dermatology clinic, they were both advised to start taking MDT.
But Phisto took the news hard. As the oldest of six children, and the oldest male after his father left, Phisto already had a lot to cope with and took to drinking and smoking. Discouraged too that the nearest clinic was over an hour away on foot.
But thanks to the support of people like you, The Leprosy Mission staff in PNG have been able to encourage him to reprioritise his health, and he is grateful.
Phisto is now feeling more hopeful. He really feels that things have changed for the better and he has even been trying to prioritise his health more.
“My family and The Leprosy Mission have been supportive and have encouraged me to take treatment regularly again…”
Phisto has become more aware of the consequences of leprosy. He’s not only thankful that he does not have any deformity, but he also feels compassion for those who do.
“I want to gather people in my settlement together who have been affected by leprosy and other diseases so we can support one another more through self-care, especially those with disability,” Phisto told us.
Please continue to pray for those affected by leprosy in PNG who have lost hope. Pray they are cured, restored and encouraged this Easter. May they experience the hope of new life!