In 1997 my husband and I visited the Leprosarium in Zielonaja Dubrava near Siergiev Posad for the first time.

It all happened by pure chance. We had taken part in the jubilee celebrationsin Terski. On our way back from Minerlnyje Wody to Germany included a stop-over in Moscow. So the opportunity arose to get into contact with leprosy patients in Moscow. Russian leprologists informed the staff in Zielonaja Dubrava about our arrival by phone. A car was waiting for us at the airport in Moscow. Professor Goloshjapov, the Director of the leprosarium, welcomed us in a cordial way. He showed us around and told us about the various contacts he had with universities from Moscow. The students of the medical faculty are familiarised – much to my surprise – with leprosy in Zielonaja Dubrava and are also taught about the illness.

The patients were rather shy and when talking to the Director it became obvious that medical as well as general aid was both urgent and welcome. Specific medicine, however, was not required since Prof. Prof. Goloshjapov was working on the production of anti- leprosy medicine himself which – according to him – was the best world-wide.
When I insistently questioned the patients, they told me that they were mostly missing warm jackets, shoes and milk. I was surprised to learn that leprosy patients were brought to Zielonaja Dubrava from different regions in Russia. The patients partly came from the border regions of the Baltic states and even areas reaching as far as the Pacific Ocean. According to Prof. Goloshjapov 122 patients were staying at the Leprosarium at that time.

I kept my promise to send relief goods in 1998. A big lorry loaded with goods went from Dinslaken to Zielonaja Dubrava. It was meant as a sign of hope for leprosy people, a sign that they were not left behind in their desolate life.

im Gespräch mit Prof. Goloshjapov
Discussing with the Director, Prof. Goloshjapov

In the year 2000, I paid another visit to the leprosy patients in Zielonaja Dubrava. The supply of appropriate shoes was still due. A shoemaker happened to travel with us and helped us to take the correct measures of the crippled and mutilated feet of the patients and to initiate the orthopaedic supply. In 2002 a third visit was possible. Since many of the patients have been transferred to other Russian or Central Asian leprosariums upon their own request, there are only 20 leprosy patients left. It was a great pleasure to see the smiles on the patients’ faces when the new shoes were distributed. “This is a royal present” they said happily.

 

2009

Dr. Aleksiej Kubanow is the successor of Prof. Goloscapov. He takes care of the remaining leprosy patients and deals with the production of immune effective medicine. Kubanow and his staff took part twice in our leprosy conferences, the last time in the Leprosarium Terski, Caucasus, in 2007.