While working on a report about the stigma that they face and the need to get rid of it ahead of World Leprosy Day, this scribe got in touch with a government official for necessary data.
When the official was requested for data for the report pertaining to a neighbourhood that is still being is referred to as Leprosy Colony, the reporter was surprised to hear the official deny the allegation that the public was stigmatising the disease. What was more unnerving was the official himself continuing to refer the colony using the same name.
Revealing how he, too, was part of the system that was stigmatising the persons living with the disease, he repeatedly referred to the neighbourhood as Leper Colony for as many as seven times during that brief conversation. Finally, this reporter stopped him and pointed it out.
That he continued to deny any stigmatisation only showed how government staff do not realise what they say and how their words can actually increase the challenge faced by persons trying to combat a problem.
— Anna Sakhi John, Chennai