Monday, 14 July 2008 11:46 AM

Stigma of Leprosy Still in Solomons

Clement Kou from Dui Dui Talise, South of Guadalcanal Province, was born 1940 and a leprosy victim since the age three.

Mr. Kou told Solomon Times in an interview of how he manages to survive alone over the past years.

"I was three years old when I fell victim to leprosy and through the help of the Red Cross and medical workers at the time, I was transported to Honiara for treatment."

Mr. Kou has not returned to his village ever since that day.

Solomon Times heard that Mr. Kou has been in hospital for 20 years taking treatment for leprosy.

A sad turn for him was having his left leg amputated after Cyclone Namu in 1986 "because it got worse".

"After my leg was amputated, a house was built for me at Tetere at the now new Don Bosco area in CDC three," he said.

Building his house at Tetere is purposely to keep him close to the National Referral Hospital incase of emergency.

He said that although he is a leprosy victim, "it does not make me different from other members in the community because they accept me as I am".

Mr. Kou revealed that he lives alone, makes his own garden and also cooks for himself.

"My relatives no longer come and visit me so all the things I need for my daily needs, I have to do them because I cannot depend on any body but myself."

Asked on how he survives financially, Solomon Times heard that the lone survivor receives help from Red Cross.

"When I need money, I will go to Red Cross and they give me what I need."

Mr. Kou acknowledged God for his life "because I am now 67 years old and I would not have made it this far without God".

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