By Mercy Obojeghren
Delta government has increased the monthly stipends from N3,000 to N8,000 to men and women who once suffered from leprosy, but now live with related injuries , to cushion the worsening economic hardship in the state.
Mrs Omatsola Williams, the state Commissioner for Women Affair, Community and Social Development said on Wednesday in Asaba, that the government’s decision to increase the monthly stipends to the about 600 ex-lepers arose from the harsh economic reality in the country.
“When we came on board things were really tough; but as things improved, the state governor increased the monthly stipends to ex-lepers who are about 600 from N3000 to N8000.
“This administration has also built a dormitory, solar power water scheme and two modern kitchens for them in order to modernize the area where they live in.
“If they continue living in open fields, the treatment given to them will be wasted because the organism will come back.’’
She also said that the state government was planning to create a data base for persons living with disability in the state.
She said about 50 persons living with disabilities have been trained and empowered in various skills of their choice in collaboration with job creation office.
“More than 350 mobility aids and appliances were purchased and distributed to deserving persons with disabilities, while some of them are involved in the various empowerment programmes of the state government,’’ she said.
The commissioner also said that some of them were benefiting from the scholarship programme secured by the ministry in collaboration NNPC for persons living with disabilities who were indigenes of the state in higher institutions.
Leprosy is caused by a slow-growing type of bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae, discovered in 1873.
The Word Health Organisation’s statistics has shown that about 180,000 people worldwide are infected by leprosy, with most of them in Africa and Asia. (NAN)