The Stigma of Leprosy in India

February 16, 2009

The history of leprosy in India offers insights into one of the world’s most misunderstood diseases. The effort towards Leprosy control and elimination still faces many challenges, as Leprosy continues to be stigmatized. In a society with a deeply ingrained, though legally abolished, caste system, this continues to be a problem partly through lack of knowledge.

Socially marginalized groups such as women, minority social or ethnic groups and the urban poor are less likely to seek care, and are not motivated to account for their individual needs. Even community education and medical knowledge of the disease does not immediately dispel the stigma, as people with experience of the disease do not necessarily have a positive attitude to the patients. The cause of this stigma is not well understood.

Sustaining the gains made so far and further reducing the disease burden in India require an innovative, holistic approach that includes ongoing education, efforts to identify interventions to dispel stigma, and the inclusion of nonallopathic practitioners in disease control programs.

For more information about the impact of Stigmatisation on the efforts to End Leprosy see The Stigmatization of Leprosy in India and Its Impact on Future Approaches to Elimination and Control by Jesse T. Jacob and Carlos Franco-Paredes. Click here to read the journal entry.

If you are interested in the campaign to End leprosy Now, please click on the link below and pledge your support.

Help to End leprosy Now

Comments are closed.