It's amazing how diseases we consider pieces of the past still torment poor people around the world. Take leprosy, for instance. Associated Press reporter Margie Mason visited East Timor recently to report on this terrifying bacterial infection that can be cured with three pills a day but still ravages 250,000 new patients a year, most of them in India. Although it's not fatal, the disease can mean an end to life if it's not treated quickly, Mason wrote in her article, which appears in The Washington Post.

"It maims people, it cripples them and it makes their lives shorter because they cannot work and therefore they cannot eat," says Dr. Denis Daumerie, project manager of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the WHO in Geneva, who's been working with leprosy for nearly three decades. "It kills slowly. It leads to discrimination and social exclusion, which in many societies is worse than death."

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Author

Austin Bailey

Austin Bailey is a writer and editor for Heifer's World Ark magazine.