Barclayville, Grand Kru County — The Ministry of Health with support from partners have distributed medical items to Lymphedema patients in Grand Kru county. The items include slippers, towers, buckets, packs of fungal cream, among others.
Report By: Regina Juluwe, LMD Responsible Health Reporting Fellow
According to Grand Kru Community Health Department Director, Malcolm Smith, the Lymphedema patients are people with “big feet, hydro seed among other health complications”.
Mr. Smith said distribution of the medical items comes after an assessment carried out by the Ministry of Health during which time 90 patients were discovered as “Neglected Tropical Disease patients”.
The Grand Kru County Health official said the items provided will help address the challenges confronting these patients.
Smith added that the Lymphedema patients often isolate themselves from people because they are often “stigmatized and discriminated against”.
He said that there is no cure for the disease, but it can rather be reduced by application of medications and patient’s condition can become much better.
“The belief our people have is when you follow another man’s woman, he can harm you by throwing big foot on you; it’s not true — from mosquitoes bite you can be infected,” he explained.
Smith then encouraged patients to take their medication, to help reduce the pains while also encouraging them not to feel discouraged about their health condition.
“The patients can be ashamed because of that they distance themselves from those who are facing these conditions, having big foot is not the end of life. Let them that the medicine that will be provided it will help improve their health condition,” he said.
He indicated that the county Health Team is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to create a health program “targeting people with neglected tropical disease on how to move on with their lives in a more positive manner and feel a part of society despite their status medically”.
Speaking to reporters in Barclayville, Mr. Smith vowed that the materials will be equally distributed amongst targeted patients.
“We will distribute the materials to those who are facing the health condition; those who have the big foot, hydro seed and others,” he said.
Mr. Smith thanked the government and development partners for their prompt intervention that is in a “very positive direction to identifying with people with such medical situation” while promising regular visits to assess the condition of the patients.
“We want our patients to always go for treatment at the health centers, the facility is always free”.
For their part, the patients thanked the Ministry of Health and partners for identifying with them, noting that the materials received will help their treatment.
“I want to thank the health people for providing these health materials to help reduce our health condition, we will used them,” said Moses Chea.
“I feel like I’m out of the world because of my health condition, people don’t come around me because of my condition, thank God the health people came around to know our living conditions and provided materials to reduce the pains,” explains Jackson Sieh. “I believe when we used these the items our health condition will improve. I’m excited about items given to me.”
For her part, Jestina Nimely assured the partners of paying constant visit at the facility to take treatment.
“I appreciate the health workers and partners for giving us the materials, as what the doctor said every time going to the clinic will help to improve our condition, the items given to us will positively help reduce the pains,” she said.