This time we did not have to search for the leprosy people. In 1995, all addresses of leprosy centres of the former USSR located in the Caucasus were kindly sent to us.
Our Russian colleagues told us at that time, “The leprosy patients are in urgent need of your help!” It was obvious that the patients, due to the difficult economic situation during the last years in Russia, were inadequately supplied. This logical conclusion as well as our readiness to help caused a more than joyful acceptance of our activities

I managed to receive an invitation to Uzbekistan due to my encounter with the eye specialist, Professor Tamara Muratova, scientific member of the university, whom I had met at the Medical World Congress in Tschenstochowa in 1995.

Therefore, we could fly to Tashkent in July 1996. The relief goods, which we had been collecting for months were being transported by a big lorry from Dinslaken to Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic in Uzbekistan. We already knew the very high figure of 700 leprosy people near the Aral Sea. Consequently, the German Leprosy and TB Relief Association (DAHW) had supplied us with large quantities of anti-leprous as well as general medicine. Medical and general relief goods, clothes and food were also transported to Nukus.

We arrived in Tashkent after midnight and were already expected by Professor Muratowa and Professor Eshbaev, a leprologist in charge of leprosy patients in Uzbekistan. We immediately discussed the coordination of different tasks in Uzbekistan and continued our flight to Nukus some hours later. The leprologist in charge of Karakalpakstan, Mr. Biekpolat Naschimov, was already expecting us. We worked out a work schedule together.

We visited:

  • The leprosarium Krantau
  • The municipal out-clinic for leprosy people
  • The leprosy out-clinic for the district of Nukus
  • The leprosy institute of Nukus
  • The leprosy out-clinic in Muinak (directly on the Aral Sea)


The Leprosarium Krantau is located 40 km off its capital Nukus. There is no running water, nor canalisation, nor telephone and electrical power often breaks down.

The out-clinic in Muinak is located in a distressed area near the Aral Sea. Whereas only 20 years ago, Muinak was an island, it has now become mainland.

The Leprosarium Bachmal is small and at the time there were 17 in-patients and 140 out-patients to whom there was no contact at all...

It was the an occasion for my husband and myself - and our desire at the same time – to take care of the leprosy people living under such poor circumstances.

The contact with leprologists from Uzbekistan has always been good.

Together with the WHO Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Yohei Sasakawa from Tokyo, who is in charge of leprosy worldwide, and his 10-person team.

For 18 years the town of Dinslaken has supported the leprosy people on the Aral Sea.

It was here that a most cruel ecological catastrophe of the last 50 years took place.

We had carefully prepared our trip for months!

The VII. Congress of Dermatovenerologists and Cosmetologists of the Republic of Uzbekistan took place on September 7-8 September 2017 in Tashkent. I was in charge of passing on the latest information obtained at the 19th World Leprosy Congress in Beijing, China, to the Central Asian countries and thus to strengthen the position of the World Health Organization in Central Asia.

The task of fighting leprophobia was accepted by Central Asian medical professions and I was therefore asked to give my presentation once again at the University of Tashkent.


After two years I decided to return to the country of ‚Black Hats‘. Karakalpakstan is an autonomous Republic of Uzbekistan, which has its own Council of Ministers, its own language and even its own flag.