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Lay and peer counsellors to reduce leprosy-related stigma--lessons learnt in Cirebon, Indonesia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Counselling has been identified as a promising strategy to reduce stigma. Lay and peer counsellors have provided counselling in various fields, but this has not yet been studied in the field of leprosy. The Stigma Assessment and Reduction of Impact (SARI) project in Cirebon District, Indonesia took up this endeavour. This paper describes the initial experiences based on the perspectives of the lay and peer counsellors and aims to provide lessons learnt for future initiatives.

METHODS: The selection of lay and peer counsellors was based upon pre-defined criteria such as completed junior high school and level of confidence. This study draws on the notes of seven monitoring and evaluation meetings and 21 group discussions the main researcher facilitated with the lay and peer counsellors and the notes written by the lay and peer counsellors on the sessions with their clients.

RESULTS: In total, 198 people affected by leprosy were offered counselling by the 11 lay and 12 peer counsellors; 145 accepted this offer. The other 53 either did not need counselling or did not want to participate for example due to worries about disclosure. Effective communication skills such as listening and asking effective questions were important, but also difficult to acquire for the lay and peer counsellors. Sharing personal experiences was highly appreciated by clients and stimulated a deepened reflection.

CONCLUSION: Challenges related to concealment and effective skills exist, but some people affected by leprosy and others can become effective counsellors making it at the outset a challenging but nevertheless promising intervention.

French Abstract

 

 

 

 

More information

Type
Journal Article
Author
Lusli M
Peters RM H
Zweekhorst MB
van Brakel WH
Seda FS S E
Bunders JF G
Year of Publication
2015
Journal
Leprosy review
Volume
86
Issue
1
Number of Pages
37-53
Language
eng
ISSN Number
0305-7518
Alternate Journal
Lepr Rev
Publication Language
eng