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The impact of leprosy-related stigma and coping mechanisms of people affected: A qualitative study from a suburban area in Northern district of Gresik, Indonesia


The objective of this study is to explore the current status of leprosy-related stigma in a Suburban area in the Northern District of Gresik City, Indonesia, specifically its effects on people affected by leprosy and the coping mechanisms they employ.

A phenomenological qualitative study with an inductive approach was conducted. Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with ten participants. Participants included in this study are confirmed leprosy patients treated in the same primary health care facility, originating from the same geographical area in a Suburban area in the Northern District of Gresik City, Indonesia. The data were transcribed verbatim and coded using a template analysis method.

Results showed that felt stigma was prevalent among people affected by leprosy, which made them feel anxious, afraid and depressed, with diminished self-confidence. This felt stigma resulted in concealing their disease and avoiding physical activity in the community. Coping mechanisms are strategies employed to deal with stressors, including having a support system, increasing knowledge, enganging in active community participation and joining self-care groups to enhance self-esteem. Disease concealment was a negative coping mechanism that adversely affected the disease control program.

Leprosy-related stigma continues to present a significant barrier to achieving Global Leprosy targets. Disease concealment poses a challenge to breaking the transmission chain. Increasing knowledge, engaging in active community participation, and building self-care groups might reduce leprosy-related stigma and enhance leprosy management in a Suburban area in the Northern District of Gresik City, Indonesia.

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Journal Article
Kinanti H
Alinda MD