The physiological impacts that eczema has on sufferers are often overlooked yet the rare skin condition presents a range of emotional trauma for its victims let alone the care givers.

Between itchy rashes and stares from strangers, living with eczema has been a challenge for 16 year old Theophelus Nderemani from Msasa Park in the capital, Harare.

His other sibling who is in primary school is also afflicted with eczema from birth.

Theophelus said there are days when he prefers to be alone as most of his age mates would shun his company assuming eczema is contagious.

An equally emotionally affected Theophelus’ mother Mrs Lilian Magwenya adds there are times she feels guilt and responsible for her two children’s condition.

Director Eczema Association of Zimbabwe Trust Mr Odwell Gwengo bemoaned limited data on the condition as contributing towards making it hard to implement interventions.

Eczema is an allergic condition that causes dryness and recurring skin rash which is almost always itchy.

According to research, eczema can decrease quality of life, interfere with achievements in school and careers and affects friends and choice of partners. However, accepting the person and their condition can make a huge difference in interpersonal relationships and psychological health.