Community-based needs assessment of leprosy patients in Chamrajanagar district, Karnataka, India.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the medical, disability prevention and rehabilitation and psychosocial needs of leprosy patients.
DESIGN: Community-based cross sectional study.
RESULTS: 259 registered leprosy-affected people were studied. 26% of subjects had presented by voluntary reporting. The mean detection delay was 8.25 months (SD 6.45). 66.8% of the study subjects had received regular treatment. Knowledge about multi-drug therapy (MDT) was satisfactory in 44.4% whereas knowledge of reactions was highly unsatisfactory. 7.7% had leprosy reactions among which only 25 received medical care. Disability proportion was 20.1% out of which 8.5% had Grade 1 and 11.6% had Grade 2 deformity. All these disabled individuals needed skin care, 44.2% of them needed wound care and 36.5% needed joint care. There was wide discrepancy between need for self care, training received and resources available for practising the same. The extent of dehabilitation was more among subjects with visible deformities.
CONCLUSION: Medical needs identified in study subjects include capacity building of patients regarding MDT & reactions, plus awareness generation in general community such that voluntary reporting is enhanced and the detection dela shortened in the district. Strengthening drug inventory and distribution systems fo uninterrupted supply of drugs is essential. There is a need to reorient health care staff regarding leprosy management and DPMR. Rehabilitation needs identified are capacity building with regard to prevention of deformity and supplies (POD tool kit for self care) for the same. It is recommended that the district heath system should conceptualise and implement an evidence-based field level disability care and prevention programme, with community-based rehabilitation approach.