The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has honoured a female National Service person, Donna Elikplim Agbeshie, for her dedicated service to the Weija Leprosarium, where she did her service and took care of the cured lepers.
Dr Bawumia, who is a life patron of the Cured Lepers Aid Committee, presented a citation of recognition to Ms Agbeshie at the commemoration of this year’s World Leprosy Day at the Weija Leprosarium in Accra.
The commemoration was on the theme: “United for Dignity”.
Ms Agbeshie, a product of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), was recommended by the President of the Lepers Aid Ghana, Rev. Father Andrew Campbell, under whose direct supervision she discharged her national service obligation.
Ms Agbeshie was commended for the adoption of the habit of regularly visiting the wards to show compassion and take care of the lepers on admission.
That show of compassion for the lepers at the leprosarium was admired by the Vice-President, who advised Ghanaians to stop discriminating against people living with leprosy but rather give them care and attention, adding that “leprosy does not make one unintelligent”.
“When lepers are given the chance, they will be able to exhibit their God-given talents,” he stressed.
National Service Scheme
The Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Osei Assibey Antwi, was full of praise for Ms Agbeshie.
He said many people would not want to be with lepers, but Ms Agbeshie braved the odds and accepted her posting to the leprosarium to offer her national service there, to the admiration of the authorities of the facility.
He urged the youth to emulate the commendable attitude Ms Agbeshie had exhibited to help the needy and the vulnerable.
He said the NSS would continue to monitor the activities of national service persons and appropriately recognise and honour those who excelled in their duties.
Mr Antwi was at the Weija Leprosarium to join hands with the Vice-President and Father Campbell to commemorate this year’s World Leprosy Day.
He advised national service persons deployed to every part of the country and future service persons not to see their posting as punishment but rather as an opportunity to give back to society whatever they might have received earlier from the State.
For his part, Rev. Father Campbell praised Ms Agbeshie and highly commended her for how she had conducted herself throughout her service at the leprosarium.
He said only a few people would do what Ms Agbeshie had done, and that the honour was well deserved.
Ms Agbeshie, for her part, thanked the Vice-President and the NSS for recognising her selfless dedication to her obligations and honouring her.
She said for her, it was only service to humanity that pushed her to offer the needed assistance to the cured lepers.
She said she considered it a civic duty and responsibility, as a young Ghanaian graduate, to contribute her quota through “this small way to show compassion and love to the needy who have found themselves in such a situation”.
On the commemoration of the day itself, Rev. Fr Campbell said stigmatisation still remained a challenge for cured lepers, in spite of continuous education.
He underscored the need for people in society to embrace those affected by the disease and give them affection.
Rev. Fr Campbell
Rev. Fr Campbell noted that lepers had been cautioned against begging for alms on the streets, as the practice undermined efforts to make their lives better.
He expressed gratitude to the government and especially the Vice-President for his contribution to the well-being of lepers.
All cured lepers are placed on the government’s social intervention programme called the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty. They also receive stipends from the District Assemblies Common Fund.
The Vice-President made a cash donation of GH¢50,000 to the Lepers Aid Committee.
He and his wife, Samira Bawumia, have, over the years, hosted a number of cured lepers at their residence.