The Senate yesterday intensified its move to ensure the establishment of a hospital that would focus on treatment of leprosy, skin cancer and other deadly diseases in the country. Consequently, the apex legislative assembly considered the National Dermatology (Specialist) Hospital Bill, 2021, sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC, Adamawa Central) and passed it for second reading. While leading debate on the bill, Ahmed recalled that as far back as 1929, an international hospital was established for Garkida Agricultural Leper Colony, Adamawa, by the Church of the Brethren Mission (USA). She said: “It was an ambitious effort located on 2,500 acres of land designed for the treatment of leprosy and other illnesses, isolation center and training of lepers in craft and improved agricultural methods.
It was a reputable hospital with 12,507 leprosy patients admitted between 1929 and 2002 with reasonable number of patients coming from neighbouring countries. “With the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s and the use of dapsone to treat leprosy, the role of the hospital changed. Dr. Roy Pfaltzgraff, the Medical Superintendent (1954-1982), transformed the hospital to an internationally- known centre for developmental work in surgical rehabilitation, physiotherapy, protective footwear, prostheses and training.