Government health workers as implementers of prevention of disability measures: an assessment of a prevention of disability project in selected counties of Guizhou Province, Peoples' Republic of China.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of government health workers as agents for the prevention of disability.
DESIGN: A prevention of disability (POD) project for people affected by leprosy was conducted in nine counties of Guizhou Province, Peoples' Republic of China. The project was implemented by government health workers. In accordance with the principles and national criteria of the National Centre for Leprosy Control (NCLC) POD Pilot programme, 1215 people affected by leprosy were selected, followed up and assessed with the use of impairment summary forms through which essential indicators were routinely collected.
RESULTS: Most improvements of disabilities occurred in the 1st year of the POD project. Fifty five people with neuritis were detected and treated with prednisolone out of 262 new patients; 47 of these improved; 1130 people completed a 3-year self-care programme; 88.5% of red eyes, 83.9% of hand ulcers and 62.8% of simple foot ulcer cases healed during that period. One hundred and ninety six people who presented with complicated ulcers were treated; of these 73 (37.2%) people presented with feet free of ulcers at the end of the project period.
CONCLUSION: The POD project was a cost-effective method of preventing further disability occurrence among people affected by leprosy. Government health workers were generally able to implement and monitor the project effectively. Most of people affected by leprosy were satisfied that the improvements in their disabilities had been due to self-care. The programme had helped them to increase their confidence to implement self-care activities.