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Community-Based Intervention for Active Detection and Provision of Single-Dose Rifampicin Post-Exposure Prophylaxis to Household Contacts of Leprosy in Bolivia


Background: To achieve zero leprosy cases in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, we designed a community-based active detection and provision of single-dose rifampicin post-exposure prophylaxis (SDR-PEP) to household contacts with new leprosy patients.

Methods: From July to August 2021, we assessed the current knowledge, attitude, and practices through structured interviews and focus group discussions with community representatives and health staff. This was followed by sensitization sessions, the training of health staff, and the reinforcement of referral mechanisms. Teams, including health staff and community volunteers, visited all new leprosy patients detected in 2021–2023 and household contacts.

Results: Among 115 community representatives, knowledge about leprosy etiology was attributed to non-biological factors (74%); fear accounted for 77%, and access to care was perceived as weak (74%), but the outlook was improved by SDR-PEP (80%). Among the 217 health staff interviewed, the programmatic barriers identified were a lack of referral feedback (67%), limited supplies for diagnosis and prevention, and ineffective training (64%). We visited 70 new patients and 258 household contacts. The median age in household contacts was 25 years old; 49% were women, 98% were eligible for SDR-PEP, and all who were eligible accepted it. Those who were non-eligible included one tuberculosis patient and six newly detected leprosy patients (23‰).

Conclusions: A community-based intervention was successful in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Misbeliefs and a lack of knowledge were identified as barriers. Programmatic components should be reinforced for SDR-PEP extension.

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Journal Article
Baptista Mora A
Ortuño-Gutiérrez N
Zurita Paniagua D
Hurtado Solares C
Fastenau A
Kasang C