This is one of the reasons I am grateful for the invention of the internet – opportunity to learn and expand knowledge, also chance to connect people of the world.
Vitiligo is a long-term disorder where by skin lose its pigment leaving the sufferers with white patches all over the body.
I first learned of vitiligo when I was very young, someone in the neighbourhood had it around his mouth and naturally lots of people will stare at him especially children, mostly out of curiosity as to what the cause might be. I remember I was told the said man ti jẹ nkan èèwọ̀ (had eaten forbidden food) hence the skin around his month peeled off. That was the end of it.
I have since seen many people with severe case of vitiligo, in my mind I always wondered if the cause of their condition had to do with eaten forbidden food.
The good news is that there are quite a lot of people from different parts of the world sharing their stories on this now, as well as possible treatment especially for those with mild condition and tips to deal with social stigma.
A recent article on Telegraph talked about Yale scientists’ experiment of using arthritis drugs to treat vitiligo, looks promising going by the photos of before and after.
Information such as this is very useful, now I know the middle-aged man with who had vitiligo from my childhood didn’t eat èèwọ̀.
From Enam Honya’s story, it seems the social stigma is the biggest problem. Knowing my people, this is usually triggered by lack of knowledge around the cause of vitiligo, hopefully, her story will help us become more accepting.
Here is Enam from Ghana sharing her story.