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Original Research Articles

Knowledge, Beliefs and Perception of Leprosy

Authors:

Sukhbir Singh ,

School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh, IN
About Sukhbir

Dr. Sukhbir Singh works as Capacity Building Officer at School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh. He is a medical anthropologist working on issues such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy and reproductive & child health.

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Anil K Sinha,

School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh, IN
About Anil K

Dr. Sinha is a Professor in socio-cultural anthropology with special reference to medical anthropology at Panjab University.

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BG Banerjee,

Department of Anthropology, Punjab University, Chandigarh, IN
About BG

Dr. Banerjee is a Professor in socio-cultural anthropology with special reference to medical anthropology at Panjab University.

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Nidhi Jaswal

School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh, IN
About Nidhi

The author is a clinical pyschologist working in the area of the health promotion, currently working as a research coordinator in School of Public Health, PGIMER.

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Abstract

Purpose: For intervention to be effective, it is essential that the knowledge, beliefs and perception of a specific social group are taken into account. This is particularly true of leprosy where the problems of social stigma and ostracism are more prominent than the disease itself. There are many misconceptions about the cause, methods of transmission, and treatment. The main objectives of the study were to examine the socio-demographic profile of persons with leprosy and to explore their knowledge, beliefs and perception about the disease and its initial symptoms, within a specific socio-cultural milieu.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were held with a persons with leprosy at various clinics and care-homes for affected persons in and around Chandigarh, India. Those who had completed their treatment and those who were still undergoing treatment were included in the study. Data collection was done through case studies and in-depth interviews.

Results: The name of the disease varied across different geo-cultural zones. Many respondents who were afflicted with only red patches and had no ulcers, believed that they suffered from a skin disease which would turn into leprosy if proper medication was not received. The perception of 64.9 % of the respondents was that leprosy resulted from supernatural causes like God’s punishment, karma, and sin.

Conclusion: There is a need to educate persons with leprosy and their families about the etiology of the disease.

How to Cite: Singh, S., Sinha, A.K., Banerjee, B. and Jaswal, N., 2013. Knowledge, Beliefs and Perception of Leprosy. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 23(4), pp.67–75. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v23i4.179
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Published on 05 Feb 2013.

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