|Title||Impact of leprosy on the quality of life.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Authors||Joseph GA, Rao PS|
|Abbrev. Journal||Bull. World Health Organ.|
|Journal||Bulletin of the World Health Organization|
|Year of Publication||1999|
|Keywords||Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Case-Control Studies, Female, Full text online, Global, Humans, India, Leprosy, Male, Middle Aged, Quality of Life, Questionnaires|
Leprosy is considered by many as not merely a medical condition, but as a condition encompassing psychological, socioeconomic and spiritual dimensions that dehabilitate an individual progressively, unless properly cared for. The present study was undertaken to document the nature and extent of decreases in the quality of life (QOL) of an affected person. The World Health Organization questionnaire on quality of life was given to a representative random sample of 50 leprosy-affected persons and 50 unaffected individuals in the Bommasamudram Taluk of Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India. This questionnaire explores the following six domains; physical; psychological; level of independence; social relationships; spiritual; and environmental. The mean QOL score of the cases was significantly lower than that of the controls with the exception of the spiritual domain. The mean total score for women was higher than that of males in each domain and age group. Males with deformities had a significantly lower score than those with no visible deformities. Although the scores for females with deformities were also lower than those without deformities, the differences were not statistically significant. Analyses of economic status versus the QOL scores clearly showed that they were positively correlated. The study revealed that quality of life decreased progressively in leprosy-affected persons. Women had a better QOL score than men in almost every domain. Given the secondary role of women in Indian rural society, this may simply imply an acceptance of their situation. The findings are discussed in comparison with other diseases and in the context of a poor socioeconomic environment. With modern amenities, better education and higher expectations, the perception of an individual regarding his or her own quality of life is bound to change. The need for frequent assessments and further studies along these lines is emphasized.