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World Leprosy Day

(I know it's homelessness Sunday too but you can't do them all every time)

I listened online to the radio shorts for TLM England amd Wales/TLM Scotland/TLM Northern Ireland produced by GRF Christian radio, which are very thoughtful and thought provoking... built around the sense of touch, or more precisely the ability to feel heat/cold/bites/scrathces/pain.  If we touch something very hot we instinctively draw our hand away because the nerves sense the heat and tell our brains what to do.  For the person affected by leprosy, this does not happen.

At a head level I've laways understood this, but is only since I have been landed with some permanently numb areas following surgery, that I begin to understand, even at the most basic level, what that means on a day to day basis.  So, for example, if I am out walking in midge-ified Scotland in spring/summer I not only need the repellent and the long sleeves, I also need to check the numb bits of arm to ensure there are no bites, which could cause long term problems if they became infected...  Now that's just a nuisance, and won't lead me to fatal injuries (I hope!).  For people with leprosy every day is high risk experience.

And of course it is all avoidable.  Leprosy can be treated and even cured if caught early enough.  Yet stigma and discrimination persist and lives are blighted by this disease.

Today I will remember with gratitude the former TLM misisonaries linked with Dibley BC and The Gathering Place, and the TLMS trustee from the latter.  We will hear a story from Bangladesh (the country with which TLMS has specifc links) and reflect on aspects of advocacy.

One day leprosy will be a thing of the past... until then the work of TLM International (and others) goes on.

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