British Leprosy Relief Association
Can social marketing be applied to leprosy programmes?
aDepartment of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine (MD 3), Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119260
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The implementation of multidrug therapy (MDT) has been highly effective in curing patients and reducing leprosy prevalence. In some countries, however, a significant number of cases remain undetected or are detected late. Although compliance with drug therapy is generally good, a significant proportion still defaults treatment in countries where the leprosy burden is still high. This paper proposes that leprosy control or elimination efforts might be enhanced by the application of social marketing principles. It first outlines the principles of social marketing and then reviews a successful social marketing campaign in Sri Lanka to increase case detection and treatment. The paper concludes with a discussion of the opportunities for using social marketing principles to enhance the success of current leprosy community heath education programmes and leprosy treatment services.