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Between 1995 and 1999, the WHO, with the aid of the Nippon Foundation, supplied all endemic countries with free multidrug therapy in blister packs, channeled through ministries of health. This free provision was extended in 2000 and again in 2005, 2010 and 2015 with donations by the multidrug therapy manufacturer Novartis through the WHO. In the latest agreement signed between the company and the WHO in October 2015, the provision of free multidrug therapy by the WHO to all endemic countries will run until the end of 2025. At the national level, nongovernment organizations affiliated with the national program will continue to be provided with an appropriate free supply of multidrug therapy by the WHO.
Early medieval understanding of leprosy was influenced by early Christian writers such as Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, whose writings were later embraced by Byzantine and Latin writers. Gregory, for example, did not only compose sermons urging Christians to assist victims of the disease, but also condemned pagans or Christians who justified rejecting lepers on the allegation that God had sent them the disease to punish them. As cases of leprosy increased during these years in the Eastern Roman Empire, becoming a major health issue, the ecclesiastic leaders of the time discussed how to assist those affected as well as change the attitude of society towards them. They also tried this by using the name "Holy disease" instead of the commonly used "Elephant's disease" (elephantiasis), implying that God did not create this disease to punish people but to purify them for heaven. Although not always successful in persuading the public and a cure was never found by Greek medicians, they created an environment where victims could get palliative care and were never expressly banned from society, as sometimes happened in Western Europe. Theodore Balsamon, a 12th century jurist in Constantinople, noted that lepers were allowed to enter the same churches, cities and assemblies that healthy people attended.
The local priest had duties other than leading worship on each Sabbath. He was also something of a health official. If a person was miraculously healed of leprosy, it was up to the priest to inspect the body, to test for a complete removal of the disease, and to announce the person healed. In such cases, the person would have been cleansed, and at that point, it would be fine for the leper to see his wife again, to hold his daughter again, to look for work again. If the priest gave him the OK, he would be healed!
One healed leper came back. One caught himself in the midst of the celebration, and returned to Jesus. He reversed his steps, put his family on hold, put the priest on hold, and came back to the cause of his celebration. His response and life situation were unique, but in the simplest sense of what he did his thankfulness led to action. And boy, did that turn out to be important!
Remember that a priest must make a declaration that a leper had been healed? There were great details involved in this process. There were details of what a priest was to look for, and how a person with the disease could be readmitted to the community, healed, and whole.
But did you know that in our record of the Old Testament, and the New Testament, that every single healing of a leper came by supernatural means? Now think about this: There were great details about what would happen if a leper became naturally well, but it never happened as far as we know. Perhaps people suspected of leprosy were pronounced clean when their skin rash cleared up. Perhaps someone with a mild infection ran the course of the sickness, and was readmitted. But according to the records of the Bible, no real leper was ever just naturally cured. This was a lifetime sentence of pain and exclusion.
But there were some healings. The sister of Moses had leprosy for a week, and was miraculously cured. A man named Naaman was cured miraculously. And that's it, in the OT. In the NT, however, Jesus heals lepers as if they had mild colds, and he had the right medicine. Jesus continued the practice of healing lepers not naturally, but supernaturally.
Jesus disciples keep growing in number and he goes town to town preaching. In one scene, a leper walks towards Jesus, covered in rags and his face wrapped in bloody gauze, and he is clearly disfigured from the disease. People tell Jesus to not touch him, but with compassion in his eyes, Jesus approaches him and touches him, healing the leper in front of everyone.
Dragon Lady Laurence Goldstein (bio) Fading, my pagan-summer-in-Catalina- Island's umber complexion, the deep kiss on skin of so much glad day, whitening like the pages of Faulkner and Yeats I scrutinized, sophomore grind further from Avalon than 26 miles. November second, nineteen sixty-three, I was driving on Wilshire Boulevard, admiring not only the chic new shops in Beverly Hills, the Jaguar dealership, the bistros with French names, but my twenty-year-old face in the rear-view mirror. I'm guessing that the radio played the year's hit song, "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer," already nostalgic for the romance of August, not the preacher's dream of being free at last but chaste horseplay with cabin boys, fellow proletariat at an overpriced hotel, sweaty scrimmages, water jousts, wrestling Bobby Levin's younger body into taunting surrender. Lawrence of Catalina, Bobby called me, after the year's big movie, while we sunbathed near White Cove. The music stopped. And then a bulletin not many Top 40 listeners would heed: A coup in Vietnam. Diem dead. Nhu dead. Madame Nhu would hold a press conference, very soon, in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. I bluffed my way into the VIP room, exotic as some Cold War outpost or posh screening room at the Director's Guild. The fourth estate pointed cameras, joked about the Dragon Lady, awaiting her mad speech. [End Page 771] Madame Nhu was famous for savage remarks. First Lady of a foundering state, she loathed the Buddhist monks who torched themselves: "Let them burn," she said, "I will be glad to supply the gasoline, and we shall clap our hands." Named Le Xuan, Beautiful Spring, she spoke no Vietnamese, only that French patois shared by the colonized upper class. Beautiful and cruel, more Lilith than Eve, she doubled as serpent in the Orientalist press. She was beyond my comprehension, I with no insight into politics, no experience of grief. She entered the room, close to me, so close I could touch the color of moonlight she wore. She said, "Now President Kennedy has all the power he wants. But will he be able to hold power? Power will be dangerous for him too, more than he knows." So few people there, why should she not stare at me, so much younger than the rest? Her gaze eclipsed the light of August, her voice dubbed over Bobby's blithe chatter pricking the mind like Catalina warbler cries and our teasing farewells after Labor Day. "I can predict to you," she fixed me in the front row, "that the story of Vietnam is only at its beginning." And so the Fifties ended, though none of us note-takers wrote this down. None saw how this stock femme fatale spun out the Sixties' thread before our eyes. She donned her dark glasses, left the hotel; I lingered, stunned, in the afterglow of glamour, musing on her fierce incitement to war. She departed the short memory of the West except one day, three weeks later, when she stepped from her Roman villa, now in black, and spoke no sympathy for Jacqueline, her Catholic twin. The days got shorter. Los Angeles knows nothing of winter's harrowing; still, nothing was ever the same. [End Page 772] Innocence, wrote Graham Greene, in his novel of Vietnam, should wear a bell, like a leper, to warn of its approach. Do I agree? Surely, America had earned a respite, a time for blamelessness, a right to say no when Madame Nhu conscripted not just ourselves to spread fire in her land. "I believe," she said, "that all the devils of Hell are against us." Too innocent to resist, too arrogant in our postwar fortune, we devils signed her pact in blood. Put the blame on Mame. Call her Medusa, this bit player, this contra-leper who vanished ten years before the fall of Saigon. Call her the evil muse of anti-communism, visiting in spirit two Presidents, their armies, all who misconstrued her prophecy in Beverly Hills: "What is done against Vietnam will be felt in America, too." Felt in our politics, I supposed she meant, felt as a wound... 2b1af7f3a8