Gyanu’s family hid her away as a child, ashamed of the deformities on her hands and feet caused by leprosy.
Today, at age 74, Gyanu looks back at the love and care she received at INF’s Green Pastures Hospital that dramatically transformed her life.
Gyanu Paudel was eight years old when white patches began appearing on her arms. These symptoms led to the deformities that developed on her body but her family didn’t know her condition was treatable. Eight years later, in 1959, Gyanu finally began treatment as a teenager at Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara.
Gyanu was one of the first leprosy patients at the hospital and her experience was life-changing. She learnt how to manage her leprosy, later met her husband through the hospital and the couple were provided with funds through INF’s Community Based Rehabilitation program to purchase land nearby.
Today, Gyanu has been living with leprosy for over six decades. Life has had its challenges but she remains thankful for the treatment she received at GPH and the kindness shown by staff and fellow patients.
“I love this place, the people working here and patients as well.
They are like family members to me,” says Gyanu. She is just one of the 11,000 patient that come through GPH’s doors each year.
Leprosy in Nepal
Green Pastures Hospital remains the biggest leprosy and rehabilitation hospital in Nepal’s Western Regions. Since its inception in 1952, INF has been working to eradicate leprosy and rehabilitate those affected by the disease. Progress has been made and the Nepal Government has formally recognised INF’s significant contribution towards combating leprosy.
However, GPH continues to see patients with new cases of leprosy every year. Leprosy is a disease that predominantly affects the poorest and most vulnerable. The prevalence of leprosy in Nepal is still two and a half times higher than the global average.
Read more about INF’s commitment to eradicating leprosy in Nepal here.