Ndoumou Richard, Former Leprosy patient.
Born on August 18, 1941, Ndoumou Richard Claude is a former leprosy patient living at the Jamot neighbourhood in Yaounde. While attending primary school at Makak, in the Littoral Region he noticed some scars on his body. He undertook clinical diagnosis during which it was analysed that he was suffering from leprosy.
Ndoumou Richard Claude says he was immediately sent back to his family to undergo treatment. His family did not reject him as he was sent to the Jamot centre for regular treatment and care.
Papa Ndoumou says at the beginning, it all went on well as he continued with his education and even obtained a technical GCE Level Certificate. However, his leprosy story became sour when the effects of the illness started hitting hard on him because of auto-negligence and the fact that he did not take his treatment correctly.
Because of this, the scourge of leprosy became real on Papa Ndoumou as his nostrils, hands and legs became affected. This was 10 years after he was diagnosed with leprosy. At this point, treatment was no longer effective on him and the impact of leprosy was uncontrollable.
In spite all the intensive treatment to handle his leprosy situation, his hands, legs and other body parts where seriously damaged, leaving him today on a wheel chair with no vision. “I started treatment very late, when the illness had greatly evolved. That is why I am calling on everybody to immediately commence treatment when they see any leprosy scars on their body,” Ndoumou Richard says.
Whatever the situation, Ndoumou Richard Claude’s family did not abandon him; neither did the society isolate him. In his village, he is recognised as an honorary citizen, greatly involved in farm work.
He was able to marry and is a father of eight children. Papa Ndoumou says amongst his three wives and eight children, none amongst them is suffering from leprosy. At the age of 77, Papa Ndoumou is proud to say his last child, who is three years old, is very healthy.
Today, the former leprosy patient says in spite assistance from the government to ensure his reinsertion into the society through his farm work and housing condition, he still faces difficult moments from the villagers at the Jamot neighbourhood in Yaounde, who believe he is occupying their ancestral land. However, Ndoumou Richard Claude has been able to create the association for the development and rehabilitation of handicapped people from leprosy.