Friday, June 8, 2018

(LML) Leprosy in drama

Leprosy Mailing List – June 8,  2018

Ref.:    (LML) Leprosy in drama

From:  Khalid Al Aboud, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Dear Pieter,


Drama is the overall term referring to everything that is acted, either in theatre, television or films (movies). Its main types are comedy (the laughing face), or tragedy (the weeping face).

The word "cinema", short for cinematography, is often used to refer to filmmaking and the film industry, and to the art of filmmaking itself. The contemporary definition of cinema is the art of simulating experiences to communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty or atmosphere by the means of recorded or programmed moving images along with other sensory stimulations.

The medical conditions, in general, and skin disorders or changes, in particular, exist in the dramas as a main focus of the play or as distinguishing features of the actors played by them.

( is a website, established in 1996, to explore the skin conditions in movies. 

Dramas have influence the awareness of public about the uncommon or hidden medical disorders. It also showed the social difficulties experienced by those affected by medical conditions.

The life of Joseph Carey Merrick (5 1862 –1890), an English man who is presumed to have been affected by one of the gigantic medical syndromes (like neurofibromatosis or Proteus syndrome), have been depicted in several drama works and films, and now, many people around the world know about his story.


This year, In Cannes Film Festival, the film, (Yomeddine), was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or .The film won the François Chalais Prize .

The work is comedy or rather tragicomic film which questions the unfair marginalization of people with leprosy.

 Yomeddine is an Arabic word for (Judgment Day), is unique in several aspects. One of them is that it is played by a real patient (Rady Gamal) affected by leprosy.

The film follows the adventure-filled story of a Coptic leper (Beshay) and his orphaned apprentice. Beshay is left by his father at the gates of a leper colony when he was a little child.

He recovered from leprosy, and come out of Abu Zaabal leper colony in Egypt, goes in search, across Egypt, of the family, who abandoned him.

Yomeddine made a great success in bringing the problems faced by leprosy patients to the surface and to project it in an attractive way to the viewers.

Educational films have been made before on the leprosy but drama films seem to reach to larger sectors of people.

At the end, I may copy may previously published paragraph that ''Only the future will tell what impact this type of drama will continue to have on the public. Doctors and filmmakers should come together to produce what is of benefit as well as of entertainment to public.''


Khalid Al Aboud, M.D , Head of Public Health Department, King Faisal hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia.E-mail



1. Ganapati R, Deshpande SS, Revankar CR. Video films for education in leprosy--a preliminary experiment. Indian J Lepr. 1987 Jul-Sep; 59(3):363-4.

2. [Yomeddine].A page on net. Web site.  Available at; 2018 June 6. Accessed June 6, 2018.

3. Skinema.Web site. Available at; 2018 June 6. Accessed June 6, 2018.

4. Film. A page of the net. Web site .Available at; .2018 June 6. Accessed June 6, 2018.

5. Al Aboud K. Medical dramas – the pros and the cons. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2012 Jan; 2(1): 75–77.Available on line at; .

6. Carrell S. 'Elephant Man' brings hundreds of NF cases to light. Am Med News. 1981 Feb 20; 24(7):13-5.

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