Skip to content

Leprosy and Stigma in the South Pacific

The long-lasting effects of leprosy are still evident in various parts of the world.  This book details the personal experiences of people in Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, the majority of whom contracted leprosy as children.  It recounts how they were subjected to prolonged isolation in various leprosaria as the first effective cure for leprosy only became available after 1949.  Oral histories are utilized and verbatim extracts demonstrate the degree to which the disease stigmatized those who suffered from it.  Topics covered include the exact nature of the diagnosis, removal from one’s family, the experience of isolation, and the reaction of family and villages upon the individual’s return to community life.