Evaluation of a self-help intervention to promote the health and wellbeing of marginalised people including those living with leprosy in Nepal: a prospective, observational, cluster-based, cohort study with controls.
BACKGROUND: People affected by leprosy are at increased risk of ulcers from peripheral nerve damage. This in turn can lead to visible impairments, stigmatisation and economic marginalisation. Health care providers suggest that patients should be empowered to self-manage their condition to improve outcomes and reduce reliance on services. Self-care involves carrying out personal care tasks with the aim of preventing disabilities or preventing further deterioration. Self-help, on the other hand, addresses the wider psychological, social and economic implications of leprosy and incorporates, for example, skills training and microfinance schemes. The aim of this study, known as SHERPA (Self-Help Evaluation for lepRosy and other conditions in NePAl) is to evaluate a service intervention called Integrated Mobilization of People for Active Community Transformation (IMPACT) designed to encourage both self-care and self-help in marginalised people including those affected by leprosy.
METHODS: A mixed-method evaluation study in Province 5, Nepal comprising two parts. First, a prospective, cluster-based, non-randomised controlled study to evaluate the effectiveness of self-help groups on ulcer metrics (people affected by leprosy only) and on four generic outcome measures (all participants) - generic health status, wellbeing, social integration and household economic performance. Second, a qualitative study to examine the implementation and fidelity of the intervention.
IMPACT: This research will provide information on the effectiveness of combined self-help and self-care groups, on quality of life, social integration and economic wellbeing for people living with leprosy, disability or who are socially and economically marginalised in low- and middle- income countries.