British Empire Article

Courtesy of OSPA

by Michael Welchman
(District Medical Officer, Teso District, Uganda, 1953- 1955)
Welcome to Asamuk Leper Camp
Asamuk Leper Camp
As District Medical Officer my job was to introduce the Asamuk Leper Camp and the local dispensary to Alan Lennox Boyd, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, during his visit to Uganda in 1956. The concept of these camps originated from Dr Brown, the leprologist with the Uganda government. They were a significant achievement providing quality of life and care at a time when there was no cure, in a country where leprosy was rife.

The creation of the Asamuk Leper Camp involved a co-ordinated effort from the entire district team and included the local chief who would have selected an area for a leprosy survey. The camp had to be situated in an area with adequate drinking water and suitable for agriculture and keeping cattle. It needed to be in proximity of a district medical aid post that could take responsibility for physical and medical needs.

Every person in that area was recorded and then examined for signs of leprosy. My job included working with the trained leprologist superintendent, and a nursing sister from the KumI leprosy hospital, to conduct these examinations. Extreme cases were referred to the hospital for treatment.

Prior to the camps, people were treated in local dispensaries. These camps meant that lepers were now able to stay closer to their families, the progress of their disease could be monitored, although at that stage not halted, and sufferers could enjoy a measure of independence through farming crops and herding cattle.

British Colony Map
1963 Map of Uganda
Colony Profile
Originally Published
OSPA Journal 108: October 2014


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