The sustainability of self-care in two counties of Guizhou Province, Peoples' Republic of China.
This paper presents the findings of a follow-up survey conducted in two rural counties of Guizhou Province, PRC where a programme to prevent disabilities amongst leprosy affected people had been conducted. An initial 3-year programme had been conducted. One year after the final evaluation of the programme, a team was deployed to conduct a survey in the area. The objective of the survey was to establish the level of adherence to self-care. It was found that 87% of the sample of people living in leprosy villages that were surveyed (n = 31) and 50% of the sample of people living in general communities (n = 50) had continued to apply self-care. Interviews with family members suggested that 18 of the 27 self-care practising subjects living in the leprosy villages received encouragement or active support from family members (9 were single people). Twenty three of the 25 self-care practising subjects living in the communities also received family support (2 were single people). Family support was a highly significant factor influencing adherence in the community (OR = 15.8, CI = 3.0 to 83) but it may not have been the primary motivating factor in the leprosy villages where single people were just as likely to have adhered to self-care than people who were living in families (OR 0.5, CI = 0.06 to 4.2). The prevalence of foot ulceration among that population was recorded but a hypothetical association between the prevalence of foot ulceration and self-care adherence could not be investigated due to insufficient data to address the potential effects of confounding variables. Thirty-eight percent of subjects who did not practice self-care presented with ulceration or foot cracks (n = 29) compared with only 25% of people who did (n = 52).