Reportage by Getty Images
"Half a Century Without Freedom - Life under the Military Regime of Burma"
A newly arrived male patient sits on his bed in a leprosy colony two hours outside of Rangoon. This man lived as a homeless man in Rangoon when another patient from the colony found him and brought him to the colony's health center.
The colony was created when, in 1989, the generals decided to forcibly move lepers from Rangoon and other areas to the village. At a time when other countries had stopped isolating leprosy patients in colonies and where treatment had proved successful in stopping transmission of the disease, the health ministry moved hundreds of people there. Back then, it was deep mosquito-infested jungle and that in the first year up to half of all the patients died. From malaria – not from leprosy. For many years, they hardly had enough food and to this day, the clinic only receives 20 cent per patient per day from the authorities. This is supposed to cover medicine, food and all other necessities but it barely even covers 1/7 of the price of rice for one day.
If it hadn’t been for private donations and a few NGOs, the patients would possibly be starving.