Returning the rights of people affected by leprosy-related stigma through counselling: Developing, implementing and assessing a rights-based counseling module in Cirebon District, Indonesia
Stigma is still an important problem for people affected by leprosy, their families and the community. Every person who is affected by leprosy is a human being, but is often unable to realize their human rights in the same way as others. Why does stigma happen? Reasons include misunderstandings about leprosy, unsupportive health and social policies, the powerlessness on the part of persons affected by leprosy to have voice and the negative attitudes of family and community members. Stigma exists – and interventions are needed to address it.
The study described in this thesis is part of the Stigma Assessment and Reduction of Impact (SARI) project in which three different stigma-reduction interventions were designed and tested. This thesis focuses on the counselling intervention. A rights-based counselling practice and module (RBCM) was developed and implemented to reduce stigma in people affected by leprosy in Cirebon District, Indonesia. The main characteristics of RBCM are that it involves lay and peer counsellors, accommodates individual, family and group counselling, builds knowledge, strengthens awareness of human rights and develops confidence. The findings described in this thesis show that the counselling intervention is effective in reducing stigma, promoting the rights of people with leprosy and facilitating their participation in everyday life.