Missionaries, the state of leprosy in Zambia

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Liwoyo, Mbaita Brendah
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The main purpose of the study was to present a history of leprosy in pre and colonial Zambia (1893 – 1964). Leprosy was a widespread disease whose victims were highly stigmatised, socially discriminated against and isolated. The study focused on approaches by missionaries and government towards its prevalence. It also established and examined attitudes towards the disease and its economic effects on both the victims and their communities. Research data for the study was obtained from the University of Zambia Library, the National Archives of Zambia and the University of Zambia Medical Library. In addition oral interviews were conducted at Liteta and Chikankata Leprosy Centres as well as the Ministry of Health. The study established that African attitudes towards leprosy and lepers an interpretations of leprosy varied from one region of the continent to the other and that even within some regions attitudes tended to vary. The study also presented evidence to show that there was gender inequalities in accessing treatment and that women were more severely affected both emotionally and physically. The study further established that despite the stigma associated with leprosy and the impact it had on the victims, the state and missionaries institutionalised leprosy and rehabilitated the lepers to become self reliant after they left the leprosy settlements. The study brought out a number of myths and taboos associated with the disease which could have been difficult to access and without which leprosy would continue to remain little understood. In doing this study, the researcher, hoped it would contribute to medical historiography in Zambia.
leprosy---Histoty--Zambia , Mycobacterium leprae