Ragini is a student of Class 10th and lives in Ambedkar Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh with her parents, grandparents and two elder sisters. Her father, the sole earning member, supports the entire family by making and selling bangles. His work requires him to travel frequently to Mumbai.

Two years ago, the little girl discovered a small patch near her left palm, but it was only when the patch became bigger that the family consulted a private doctor, who failed to identify leprosy and gave her treatment for a general skin condition.

Leprosy continued unabated during this treatment and Ragini soon developed loss of sensation in her hand. Another consultation at a PHC (Primary Healthcare Centre) in Ambedkar Nagar got the disease diagnosed and Ragini’s treatment started. However, while the medication started working on reducing the bacterial load of leprosy, the loss of sensation was irreversible.

Even though she was taking medication, Ragini’s desensitised hand started clawing. The doctor at the PHC incorrectly assured Ragini’s family that her condition will improve with the medication.

Leprosy’s medication is fully effective against the bacteria but cannot reverse the damage already done.

So, while medication started working on leprosy, Ragini’s hand deformity kept worsening. Her family then brought her to The Leprosy Mission Hospital in Ayodhya where the doctor initially suggested physiotherapy exercises. However, it only marginally improved the condition of her deformed hand.

The doctors have now recommended Reconstructive Surgery for Ragini. As you all are aware, we are a not-for-profit hospital that depends largely on charity to provide essential treatments to our patients. Most of our patients, like Ragini, come from extremely marginalised circumstances and cannot afford treatment in private hospitals. It is also true that Leprosy treatments are not provided in most of the hospitals in India and The Leprosy Mission hospitals are almost unique in the comprehensive hospital healthcare provided to people affected by leprosy.

“With your help, Ragini will be cured and go to vocational training centre and look for future with hope”.

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