The head of the Weija Leprosarium and arguably the face of efforts to provide care to persons afflicted by leprosy, Rev Fr Andrew Campbell, has showered praise on the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for his well-publicised efforts at fighting the stigma faced by cured lepers.
Father Campbell is especially proud of the Vice President’s decision to open his home to host and have lunch with a large body of cured lepers, drawn from the Ankaful, Ho and Weija leprosariums, to drive home his point that there is nothing to fear from interacting with cured lepers.
On Sunday 9th December, 2018 Vice President Bawumia and his family threw an end of year party for over a hundred cured lepers, some of whom had been abandoned by their families in the leprosariums for over 60 years, at his home in Accra.
Assisted by the 2nd Lady, Hajia Samira Bawumia, and other officials including Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon Cynthia Morrison, and the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund, Ms Naa Torshie Addo, Vice President Bawumia, who is also a Patron of the Lepers Aid Ghana, danced, sang and served food to the mainly middle aged and old men and women affected by the disease.
Visibly affected by the warm reception accorded his charges at the home of the 2nd gentleman of the land, Rev Father Campbell described the feeling as the best he had experienced in his almost 50 years of priesthood.
“This indeed is a wonderful day. I’ve never experienced this before in my life. Never. And I’m 48 years as a priest in 2 weeks’ time, and in all my years as a priest I’ve never experienced such joy and happiness.
“When I look around and I see all our dear friends from the different places, and they’ve come here to the Vice President’s house! All I can do is say ‘thank you’. This is wonderful. So Your Excellency we say thank you very very very much that you and your wife have invited us to come to your house and celebrate this wonderful occasion.”
He commended Vice President Bawumia for “the help you continue to provide”, and urged other leaders and the general public to welcome and help re-integrate cured lepers into society.
In brief comments, Vice President Bawumia emphasised that there was nothing to fear from a cured leper, and called for greater compassion and understanding for “our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who have been abandoned by society even though they are cured.”
“The Bible and the Quran both teach us to ‘love thy neighbour as thy self.’ We need to let this reflect in our daily lives, especially in the way we treat our vulnerable brothers and sisters. You can never tell when you will be struck by ill health, and if you don’t want to be abandoned in your time of need, this is the time to help those in need”, he underscored.