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Knowledge and Perception of Leprosy Patients toward Self-care Practice in Mangalore, India: A Cross-sectional Study


Background: Leprosy is a chronic granulomatous infection that mainly affects the skin and peripheral nerves, causing deformities if not treated early. Disability prevention hinges on early diagnosis and poor knowledge of leprosy and its presentation leads to delays in seeking medical care. This study aimed to assess the knowledge and perception of leprosy and its associated self-care practices among patients with leprosy in Mangalore, India.

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted in the dermatology outpatient department and leper homes in Mangalore. A validated predesigned and structured questionnaire was used to gauge knowledge of leprosy, and based on modified Bloom’s cutoff points, patients were categorized into those having good, moderate, or poor knowledge. Questions regarding their self-care practices were also asked and scored to assess their perception of the same, and the data were analyzed using SPSS.

Results: A total of 45 leprosy patients participated in this study, out of which 5 (11.1%) of them had “good knowledge,” 19 (42.2%) had “moderate knowledge,” and 21 (46.7%) of them had “poor knowledge” of leprosy. Male gender, young age, and being employed as a “skilled worker” were the groups that showed statistically significantly higher knowledge levels (P < 0.05), and having some secondary schooling was associated with good knowledge and was highly significant (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: A majority of the patients only had a poor or moderate level of knowledge of leprosy despite being afflicted with leprosy themselves. This needs to be remedied as there are many risks associated with low knowledge such as missing disease progression and poorer compliance to pharmacotherapy.

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Journal Article
Joseph JN
Fernandes MS