Noma survivors suffer the physical and psychological consequences of disfigurement. They posed here on the screening day in front of the light of an international surgical team who comes four times a year to Sokoto, northwestern Nigeria, to practice facial reconstructions.
Noma can take multiple forms depending on where the initial infection in the mouth started and how it has evolved over the years. Surgery often involves several operations over the course of months or even years.
Noma is a disfiguring gangrene caused by multiple factors including malnutrition, poor oral hygiene and immunodeficiency diseases like measles. It was eradicated in most parts of the world but still exists in some pockets in Africa and South-East Asia where there is extreme poverty. The infection can be stopped with antibiotics but an estimated 90% of Noma patients die because of lack of access to health care.