International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Bagida Colony


    Category Leprosarium
    Country Togo
    Current Address Togo


    Between Lomé and Bagida, on the coast, the first of several colonies was at last opened on 25 December 1906, planned to serve as a model for many other leprosy colonies throughout Togo, and to be self-sustaining through horticulture and cattle farming. This was, seen from a European point of view, a thoroughly progressive plan, combining the advantages of decentralisation with leprosy care appropriate to current tribal conditions, and seeking to break down – “quasi therapeutic” - the settlement isolation. But there remained the danger that from the victims’ point of view it would be judged entirely negatively, since it failed to observe the traditional forms of leprosy care; it artificially restricted even further the already reduced tribal contacts through confinement within the village, allowing the suspicion that the white masters of the country did not, themselves, wish to do without the manpower of the sickest inmates.

    On the 31-plus hectare estate, most land was laid out for cultivation by inmates; a narrow strip was for homes for the projected 200 cases in their leprosy village, with a “leprosy-free” section for guards and nurses, an examination room, a laboratory, a section for “suspects” (4 large “little houses”), another actual patients section (the “usual grass huts”). Principles of the development were that inmates were to live under conditions similar to those of their home villages, and above all, that the patients were not to be forcefully isolated. The intention was that they should feel “heimisch” (at home), work the land, and thus plant so much that from the yields they would be able to meet their own needs for a whole year.

    Leprosaria - Historical References
    Go back to previous page.