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Joseph Ralaiharo has lived cut off from society in a remote village in central Madagascar for more than half a century.Despite winning the battle against the infection, having been cured, Ralaiharo continues to live in the colony, such is the lifelong stigma.He came to Ilena in Madagascar with his mother when he was just 13 years old after becoming infected with leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease. More than 200,000 new cases are identified every year, according to the latest World Health Organization figures.Ilena is now home to over 400 people, including more than 100 children, all mingling and living together as a community but totally isolated from the rest of society.The community has had to be relocated three times due to hostility from people living in Fianarantsoa.A combination of poverty and limited access to health care is to blame for the continued presence of leprosy on Madagascar, an Indian Ocean island nation, which tends to rank among the three worst countries in Africa for new infections.
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