11 Feb 2003

Another two cases of leprosy in Samoa

5:39 pm on 11 February 2003

A doctor from the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital in Samoa says a further two people have come into the hospital with leprosy.

Dr Vaiouga Levi says he is encouraged by the arrival of the men this morning as he says there has been a reluctance in the past to come forward for treatment.

Dr Levi says there were twelve reported cases last year and ten cases in 2001.

He says Samoa can only get rid of the disease if people report their condition.

Dr Levi says some even hide their condition due to fear of the stigma they may face.

"The trouble with the disease is that it doesn't interfere with the normal daily activities of the people. They can hide just whatever change in the skin, they can just put on a short or long pants or even a shirt or dress, they can just walk around and attend to their business."

Dr Levi says he is heading a campaign to persuade people with the disease to come forward.