“This is not your treatment. You have to visit MALC Hospital” said the doctor. That was a turning point in my life. – Haider’s Story
My name is Haider and I reside with my wife and 15 year old daughter in New Karachi. Initially, my body used to itch a lot. I couldn’t sleep in the nights and was always anxious. I used to purchase medicines from the lane which would give me relief for a while and soon the itching would be back. It used to make me agitated. My job as a shoemaker was not permanent, there was no surety about tomorrow if I’d have work/ would be paid. The itching went on for days, soon months passed and a year had gone by, but the itching was still there.
During that time I noticed, I had developed wide boils on my back, hips and ears with pus filled in it. I would not come to know when they would burst, and it would turn into deep wounds that would not heal. One day a person told me that “Visit Regal (area in Saddar, Karachi – Pakistan), there is a Skin Hospital there, you may find the right treatment”. The doctor there gave me an ointment and medicines and assured me that I’d become okay. I was still skeptical and as I reached the exit, I realized I had forgotten to ask him when I had to see him next. I immediately took a 180 degree turn to meet the doctor but on my arrival at his office, I learned that his shift had ended; he had already left for the day.
There was another doctor who called me in, checked me thoroughly and told me to keep the medicines and ointment aside. Pointing at the medicines he told me “This is not your treatment. You have to visit MALC Hospital”. He then referred me to MALC. That was a turning point in my life. At MALC, I was diagnosed with Leprosy. During my treatment, I became dark and would avoid looking at the mirror. Wherever I used to find work, the people would make fun of my ears but my wife and daughter’s support and encouragement kept me going. I noticed considerable improvements as well.
Since I was hand to mouth, I used to visit MALC for social assistance, and they later offered me a job as a peon. I took it up as I was desperate. When an opportunity arose in the shoe workshop, I was transferred there. Wherever I worked previously, there were no paid holidays or a festival allowance but over here, I’m also offered a meal and assisted in my daughter’s school fees; I feel blessed.
Even though I didn’t receive an education, I was never made to feel as an outcast. It brings me immense joy when I see other persons wear the modified shoes made by me and are enabled to walk with ease.
– Sharon Braganza, Assistant Manager – IPD