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Assessment of stigma among people living with Hansen’s disease in south-east Nigeria.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the stigma situation in Hansen’s disease from the perspective of both people affected by Hansen’s disease and those living in the surrounding community in southeast Nigeria.

Design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among affected people and non-affected people using the xplanatory model interview catalogue stigma scale for the community adjusted for leprosy and for leprosy patients, internalised stigma of mental illness scale adjusted for leprosy, Participation Scale and the Social distance scale. Data obtained were analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency, distribution tables, mean and standard deviation as well as inferential statistics of Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis H test and Spearman rho correlation rank. A total of 434 participants including 63 affected people and 371 community members all within the age range of 12 – 89 years participated in this study.

Result: The perception of stigmatisation was higher in single participants, female participants, cooks, traders, crafts people and participants with primary and secondary school certificates, while beggars recorded the least perception of stigmatisation. The outcome of this study showed that females living in the community had a higher tendency of keeping a social distance than males. It also showed that on average, severe participation restrictions were found among people with WHO disability Grade II, traders, males, beggars, married people and those without any formal education while crafts people did not have significant participation restrictions.

Conclusion: There is an urgent need to intensify the stigma reduction strategies and the necessary rehabilitation support. A standardised instrument should be developed to monitor the efficiency of such programmes.

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Journal Article
Ibikunle PO
Nwokeji SC