People who knew Mr. Osita Masha for years may no longer recognize him due to a sudden change in his skin color caused by a skin condition called vitiligo. The 59-year-old shares the story of how the skin condition started with just a small spot on his finger in 2015 before spreading all over his body, noting that even his bank forced it to re-register the national identification number to dispel any doubts. on his identity. ANGELA ONWUZOO reports:
Mr. Osita Masha will not forget 2015 in a hurry. It was the year the 59-year-old started having an identity crisis as the vitiligo he contracted turned his dark skin white. The development is still a mystery to him and his family to this day.
According to the father of six, many who knew him before 2015 no longer recognize him because of his new look.
Those unaware of his fate accuse him of bleaching his skin while others wonder if he had a fire accident because of the sunburn on his face.
Mr Masha said the stigma he has endured on a daily basis since developing the skin condition is unimaginable, noting he was pressured by his bank to go and get recaptured at the NIN to make sure they were safe that it was still the same person they have on their system.
Mr. Masha’s skin condition remains strange to him, his doctors and many others, as vitiligo can appear on any part of the body, such as the face, chest, legs and genital area. , not all over the body.
The Delta State native who said his condition consumed his business and savings with no solution in sight, said many people attribute his skin condition to spiritual attack due to his peculiarity.
Share his ordeal with PUNCH HealthWisethe businessman said he was tired of explaining to people what had happened to his skin, even though his condition defied all medical, herbal and spiritual solutions.
Unaware of Vitiligo
Mr Masha recounted how a white spot that appeared on one of his right fingers spread all over his body after he received an injection for his treatment: “I first noticed it on one of my right fingers in 2015. But I was born black- skinned person. Most of my family members are dark skinned. I was a dark person until I woke up one day in 2015 and found there was a white dot on my finger. I just forgot about it because I thought I scratched my body while I slept.
“I later observed that the whitehead refused to go away. He stayed there for more than three months. Later it started to spread to other parts of my body little by little. My very observant daughter one day took a closer look at my skin and asked me what was responsible for the white patches on my skin and I told her I didn’t know.
“After taking a closer look at my body, she said ‘dad, what you have is vitiligo. I then asked him what vitiligo was. It was the first time I heard the word vitiligo. She was then a student at Yaba College of Technology. She told me they had two students who had vitiligo. So she advised me to go to the hospital and seek treatment.
Skin experts say vitiligo is an acquired condition of the skin with reduced or absent coloring/pigmentation leaving areas of white patches compared to other areas of the body. This, they say, is due to the absence or non-functioning of cells called melanocytes that are responsible for coloring the skin.
A professor of dermatology at Obafemi Awolowo University/University Hospital, Ile Ife, Professor Olayinka Olasode, told our correspondent in an exclusive interview that people with vitiligo are not born with the disease but acquire it during road.
Professor Olasode, who is also a consultant doctor and dermatologist, said: ‘The condition is not contagious. There are many documented causes for vitiligo. I will mention a few.
Family history occurs in some genetically predisposed people and in families that have early graying hair. Certain genes have been linked to its occurrence.
She noted that chemical vitiligo can also occur when there is exposure to certain chemicals like those used in the rubber industry while also identifying autoimmunity – where the body itself attacks cells producing skin pigments as another cause.
Professor Olasode, an expert in pigmentary skin diseases, also said that vitiligo could be associated with diabetes mellitus and other endocrine dysfunctions.
The 50-year-old who initially refused to heed his daughter’s advice, then sought medical interventions after so much persuasion from his family.
Continuing, Mr. Masha said: “I refused to take my daughter’s advice and told her that the white spots were not itchy.
But she insisted that I go to the hospital. After much persuasion, I then visited a private hospital where the doctor told me I had vitiligo and referred me to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Arabia.
“When I arrived at LUTH’s dermatology department, I saw many people with different white spots on their bodies, including children. So, I was scared wondering if mine will be like this.
“Later, a nurse came out to lecture everyone and told us that vitiligo had no known cure yet. She advised us on what kind of foods to eat and most importantly we urged to build self-confidence as skin conditions can cause people to fall into depression.
“She also advised us not to let the skin condition take away our lives. After the lecture, when I saw the doctor, he examined me and said, ‘Thank God you have arrived on time.
“The doctor told me that I will do two tests the same day and that I will give an injection before leaving. He told me the injection would stop it from spreading.
rapid spread of aafter treatment
Mr Masha, however, told our correspondent that his skin condition turned negative after receiving the injection.
“But two weeks after getting the injection, even though I was given worm tablets, I noticed that the disease was getting more aggressive and spreading to other parts of my body. So, I went back to the hospital before my appointment date to complain to the doctor that the disease had started to spread throughout my body since I took the injection.
“After examining me the doctor asked me to come back on the day of my appointment which was two months away after a series of tests and treatments in 2015 the skin condition continued to progress without any improvement .
“In 2016, there were white spots all over my body. So the doctor started introducing me to different types of medicine. These drugs are quite expensive as some have been sold for N50,000 a pill and this is something I have to take daily. The doctors told me that my type of vitiligo is rare and strange because of the way it has spread all over my body and turned my skin white. They argued that my case was different because vitiligo is not known to spread quickly over a short period of time. They assured me that vitiligo is not a communicable disease, but it is a disease that comes with stigma. The doctors told me to develop self-confidence to conquer it in order to live a normal life.
“The doctors were just as concerned as I was because I had no underlying health conditions. That’s how vitiligo turned my dark skin white from head to toe. That discoloration you see now on my face is not my original dark skin. It is sunburn. It was the result of my exposure to the sun. After the sunburn, my doctors advised me to avoid the sun and the heat.