How to reduce stigma in leprosy--a systematic literature review.
BACKGROUND: Interventions to reduce leprosy-related stigma reduce the manifestations of stigma that cause so much suffering to individuals and their families.
PURPOSE: This systematic review aims to identify interventions that have been used to reduce such stigma and to summarise what is known about their efficacy.
METHOD: Electronic searches were undertaken using PubMed (Medline), CINAHL and PsycInfo databases. The internet was searched using Google Scholar for papers not published in these databases. All relevant papers written in Thai or English were included.
RESULTS: After reading 55 papers, three duplications and parallel literatures were removed, 18 were removed on abstract screening and nine after reading the full papers; eventually, 25 were included in this review. Interventions with some evidence of effectiveness in terms of stigma reduction comprise the integration of leprosy programmes into general health care; Information Education and Communication (IEC) programmes; and socio-economic rehabilitation.
CONCLUSION: More evaluations are needed of the effect of the integration of leprosy programmes into general health services. The design and implementation of IEC interventions need to be preceded by careful study of the target area and population and should be undertaken in combination with other activities.