British Leprosy Relief Association
An analysis of the pattern of detection of leprosy patients by institutions in the general health services in Sri Lanka after the integration of leprosy services into general health services
aAnti Leprosy Campaign, Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition, Room No. 21, National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo 10
Correspondence to: P. R.Wijesinghe (e-mail: Gunathilake@khalsa.com)
Integration of leprosy services into the General Health Services was initiated in 2001 in Sri Lanka, and by the end of 2003 all services related to leprosy care were fully integrated. Against this background, routinely collected data available at the Anti-Leprosy Campaign for a 3-year period from 2000–2003 were analyzed to identify the pattern of the detection of cases by hierarchical institutions in the General Health Services. The analysis showed that more than 75% of leprosy patients had been detected at base, general and teaching hospitals and this trend was increasing proportionally during the period of concern (P < 0.001). Teaching hospitals had detected more than 50% of patients and this trend was also proportionally increasing. Nearly one-third of patients detected at teaching hospitals had been detected at the Central Leprosy Clinic (CLC) at the National Hospital. The trend for case detection at the CLC was decreasing proportionally and in absolute terms during the 3-year period after integration. More than 60% of leprosy patients had been detected at institutions where consultant dermatologists were available. The analysis concluded that centralized leprosy diagnostic and treatment services have been taken over by the institutions in the General Health Services but within districts these activities are predominantly concentrated on higher level institutions with consultant dermatolo- gical services. This suggests that similar to the existing general trend of by passing of lower level institutions by patients to seek treatment at higher-level institutions, which are perceived to provide a service of better quality, leprosy patients too prefer to seek treatment at these institutions.