Background: The burden of leprosy-related disability, stigma and social participation after completing treatment is not well documented in Nigeria. We assessed the extent of disability, level of stigma and predictors of activity limitation and social participation restriction after completing multidrug therapy (MDT) for leprosy in Kano, Nigeria.
Methods: A consecutively recruited cross-section of 354 persons discharged from MDT and 360 community members were interviewed. The Eyes, Hands and Feet sum score, Screening of Activity Limitation and Safety Awareness scale, Participation scale and Jacoby Stigma scale were used for affected persons. The Exploratory Model Interview Catalogue scale was used to assess community-perceived stigma. Levels of disability, activity limitation, participation restriction and stigma were scored. Adjusted ORs for predictors were generated from logistic regression models.
Results: Most (91.5%, n=324) respondents had a disability; (8.2%, n=29) and (83.3%, n=295) were WHO grades 1 and 2, respectively. Similarly, 321 participants (90.7%) had activity limitation and 316 respondents (89.3%) experienced participation restriction. Further, 88.7% of participants (n=314) anticipated stigma. Activity limitation was higher among unemployed participants, men, persons with disability and those who anticipated stigma. Participation restriction was higher among low income earners (≤1000 Nigerian Naira per month (equivalent to US$2.50 per month)) and persons with disability, limited activity and anticipated stigma.
Conclusion: Leprosy-related disability, stigma, activity limitation and social participation restriction are high after treatment. We recommend community-based rehabilitation to sustain self-care, reduce stigma and ensure social inclusion.
Keywords: Nigeria; disability; leprosy; social exclusion.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.