Stigma is synonymous with leishmaniasis, an endemic deadly flesh-eating disease in Yemen that affects predominantly poor rural women and children. Women with leishmaniasis often present late and experience not only physical deformities and the risk of death, but also the painful stigma of the disease and its consequences, a similar situation to that of leprosy decades ago. The International Society of Dermatology–sponsored community dermatology project Eradication of Leishmaniasis from Yemen Project has made a difference in the leishmaniasis situation in Yemen and addressed its magnitude. The program eradicated leishmaniasis from some areas, dealt with and improved its alarming prevalence among children and women who are the neglected and highest risk groups, and solved some issues associated with poor access to proper drugs. Medicine donation has enabled women with leishmaniasis to freely receive medicine they otherwise would not have been able to afford, reduced their mortality and morbidity, and minimized the extensive impact the socio-aesthetic stigma has on their lives. Our cause has attracted local and global attention to these problematic issues.
Al-Kamel, M. A. (2016, September 1). Impact of leishmaniasis in women: a practical review with an update on my ISD-supported initiative to combat leishmaniasis in Yemen (ELYP). International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2016.04.003