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Knowledge and Attitude among Under-Graduate Medical Students towards Leprosy in Tertiary Care Hospital- a Questionnaire Based Study.
Background: Leprosy is a chronic granulomatous infectious debilitating condition with still persisting social stigmatization in community. It is essential for medical students who become future physicians to be well aware of knowledge and to have positive attitude towards leprosy, so that effective counselling and guidance would be possible.Objective: This study aimed to assess knowledge and attitude towards leprosy among under graduate medical students. Methods: In this cross sectional study, a well-structured questionnaire containing 20 questions each to assess knowledge and attitude towards leprosy was given to 82 under graduate (III phase) students following brief description about study and objectives. Students who responded correctly for upto 8 questions were assigned level 1 (poor), 9 to 12: level 2 (average), 13 to 16: level 3 (good) and for more than 16: level 4 (excellent) in each questionnaire.Results: With a mean score for knowledge 15.48, total of 39% excellent, 48.8% good and 12.2% had average knowledge about leprosy. With a mean score for positive attitude 12.04, a total of only 7.3% excellent, 41.5% good, 31.7% average and 19.5% had poor positive attitude towards leprosy and leprosy patients.Conclusion: Even though majority of students had good and excellent knowledge about leprosy, there is significant negative attitude towards leprosy affected persons among medical students. This emphasizes the need for innovative ideas to build up the positive attitude among under graduates.