I visited Anandoban Leprosy Clinic in 2015 on behalf of International Health Partners to document the living conditions within the hospital. The idea was to put together a document that would show the various organisations that support the hospital through financial and medial donations how their money is being spent and subsequently encourage further donations.
Having previously spent most of my time in Nepal documenting earthquake relief camps and hospital tents I was incredibly surprised to see the condition as I arrived at the Hospital. Before visiting the hospital I had heard stories of family members being abandoned and marginalised from communities upon being diagnosed with Leprosy I naively expected the conditions to reflect the same neglect and abandonment. However as we drove up to the hospital, located up a secluded mountainside about an hours drive from Kathmandu, my translator tells me that the name Anandoban roughly translates to ‘peace and pleasure’ and that ‘Anand’ is the Hindi word for happiness. They couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate name.
The hospital, surrounded by an oasis of plants and tall trees is one of the cleanest and well maintained hospitals I’ve ever seen and provides a much needed sanctuary and rehabilitation centre for leprosy affected patients. Run by a small team of incredibly dedicated doctors, volunteers and researchers it provides life-changing reconstructive surgery and support and is one of the main referral hospitals and research centres for leprosy in the whole of Nepal. The restorative surgery, support and rehabilitation that the staff provide, creates a world of difference to the patients and enables many of them to return to full participation within their home communities.
A male patient recovers from a leg amputation. Bacteria attacks nerve endings destroying the body’s ability to feel pain and without pain, people injure themselves without realising. This leads to infection and loss of tissue, requiring amputation.
Two patients after eating lunch provided by the hospital. Both patients are sitting on a small wooden, wheeled stool which they use like wheel chairs to glide their way through the hospital and protect their feet after being operated on.
A patient reveals scars of a recent operation to reduce ''clawing'', an effect of severe nerve damage to the hands and feet which leads to paralysis of the small muscles.
A patient sits outside the male ward. Many have disabilities as a result of leprosy - the two bars are used as supports during the rehabilitation of post-op amputees, fitted with prosthetic limbs.
Leprosy can damage the peripheral nerves and nerves in the skin which can lead to loss of sweat and oil gland function causing dry and cracked skin on the hands and feet.
Two patients relax on the balcony outside the male ward. On the right, a young boy from India who recently had to have his right leg amputated below the knee due to tissue damage.
A patient rests on the balcony outside the male ward. The hospital is located on a mountainside about an hour outside of Kathmandu and provides much needed sanctuary for recovery and rehibilitation.
A patient rests in bed on the men's ward at Anandoban Hospital - Leprosy Mission
In between rehabilitation and therapy sessions, patients rest on their beds and escape the mid-day heat inside the ward. On the wall above the beds is a photograph of London's Tower Bridge.
The laboratory at Anandaban Hospital is one of the most important research centres for leprosy in the developing world contributing to the development of improved diagnosis and treatment of leprosy patients.
The germ, or bacteria, called Mycobacterium leprae, also known as Leprosy or Hansen's disease.