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Volume - 76, Issue - 4

Original Papers
Pages 267 - 276
  • Transformation of a leprosy hospital in Nepal into a rehabilitation centre: the Green Pastures Hospital experience

    • J. W. Brandsma
    • R. J. Schwarz
    • A. M. Anderson
    • F. B. Herm
    Volume 76, Issue 4

    | Published on December 2005

    Green Pastures Hospital for leprosy patients in Pokhara Nepal, was established in 1957 by the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) in a decade which saw the establishment of many similar hospitals in other leprosy endemic countries. In recent years, mainly due to significant improvements in leprosy control services and the wide implementation of multiple drug therapy (MDT) for all patients, many of these specialist hospitals have encountered 1) a decline in prevalence rate, 2) a large decline in the percentage of patients presenting with WHO grade 2 disability, 3) a decline in the previous indications for hospital admission, e.g. immunologically mediated reactions, and 4) a need to develop financial independence making them less dependent on donor agencies. In addition, the decision to change from specialist to general services opened up the possibility of using facilities and expertise for the rehabilitation of non-leprosy affected persons, whilst also moving towards the reduction of stigma and prejudice against patients with leprosy. This paper describes the process of ‘transformation’ of an established and well known leprosy hospital in Western Nepal from 1997 onwards into a general rehabilitation hospital. Careful preparation, with full involvement of existing staff and co-operation with other agencies in the hospital catchment area were key factors in what has now become a successful venture. Surgical procedures and orthopaedic appliance services for non-leprosy affected persons have increased in recent years and the introduction of a dermatology service has resulted in out-patient attendance rising from about 1000 in 1999 to 4500 in 2003. No evidence of reluctance to attend and use the facilities offered by this hospital because of stigma against leprosy has been encountered. Many of the changes described have been made in order to reduce financial dependence on donor sources of support, but the underlying reason for transformation is still based on the vision of the INF mission to work for and improve the condition of the marginalized in society.

Original Papers
Pages 277 - 295
  • The INFIR Cohort Study: assessment of sensory and motor neuropathy in leprosy at baseline

    • Wim H. van Brakel
    • Peter G. Nicholls
    • Loretta Das
    • Pramila Barkataki
    • Pranava Maddali
    • Diana N. J. Lockwood
    • Einar Wilder-Smith
    Volume 76, Issue 4

    | Published on December 2005

    Aim:

    To compare different method(s) to detect peripheral neuropathy in leprosy and to study the validity of the monofilament test (MF) and the voluntary muscle test (VMT) as standard tests of nerve function.

    Design:

    A multi-centre cohort study of 303 multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients.

    Methods:

    Newly registered MB patients requiring a full course of MDT were recruited in two leprosy outpatient clinics in North India. Controls were people without leprosy or neurological conditions, attending the dermatological outpatient departments of the same clinics. Nerve function was evaluated electrophysiologically using standard parameters for sensory and motor nerve conduction (NC) testing, warm and cold detection thresholds (W/CDT), vibration perception thresholds, dynamometry, MF and VMT. The latter two defined the outcomes of sensory and motor impairment.

    Results:

    115 patients had nerve damage or a reaction of recent onset at diagnosis. Sensory and motor amplitudes and WDTs were the most frequently abnormal. Among the nerves tested, the sural and posterior tibial were the most frequently impaired. In the ulnar nerve, sensory latencies were abnormal in 25% of subjects; amplitudes in 40%. Ulnar above-elbow motor conduction velocities were abnormal in 39% and amplitudes 32%. WDTs were much more frequently affected than CDTs in all nerves tested. The thresholds of all test parameters differed significantly between controls and patients, while only some differed between patients with and without reaction. Good concordance was observed between MF results and sensory latencies and velocities (direct concordance 80% for the ulnar). However, a proportion of nerves with abnormal MF results tested normal on one or more of the other tests or vice versa. Concordance between VMT and motor conduction velocities was good for the ulnar nerve, but for the median and peroneal nerves, the proportion impaired by VMT out of those with abnormal motor conduction was very low.

    Conclusions:

    Concordance between monofilaments and other sensory function test results was good, supporting the validity of the monofilaments as standard screening test of sensory function. Concordance between VMT results and motor nerve conduction was good for the ulnar nerve, but very few median and peroneal nerves with abnormal conduction had an abnormal VMT. A more sensitive manual motor test may be needed for these nerves. Of the nerve assessment tests conducted, NC amplitudes and warm sensation were the most frequently affected. Therefore, nerve conduction studies and WDT measurements appear to be most promising tests for early detection of leprous neuropathy. The pattern of concordance between tactile and thermal sensory impairment failed to support the hypothesis that small fibre neuropathy always precedes large fibre damage. Warm sensation was more frequently affected than cold sensation. This could indicate that unmyelinated C fibres are more frequently affected than small myelinated A𝛿 fibres.

Original Papers
Pages 296 - 304
  • 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

    • P. R. Wijesinghe
    • S. Settinayake
    Volume 76, Issue 4

    | Published on December 2005

    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.

Original Papers
Pages 305 - 315
  • Risk factors for participation restriction in leprosy and development of a screening tool to identify individuals at risk

    • P. G. Nicholls
    • Z. Bakirtzief
    • W. H. van Brakel
    • R. K. Das-Pattanaya
    • M. S. Raju
    • G. Norman
    • R. K. Mutatkar
    Volume 76, Issue 4

    | Published on December 2005

    The World Health Organisation International Classification of Function- ing, Disability and Health defines participation as involvement in a life situation. Participation restrictions are problems experienced in any life situation, for example, in relationships or in employment. Our research explored risk factors for participation restrictions experienced by people affected by leprosy. Our objective was to develop a screening tool to identify individuals at risk. An initial round of qualitative fieldwork in eight centres in Nepal, India and Brazil identified 35 potential risk factors for participation restriction. These were then further assessed through quantitative fieldwork in six centres in India and Brazil. In all, 264 individuals receiving leprosy treatment or rehabilitation services made a retrospective assessment of their status at time of diagnosis. Their level of participation restriction was assessed using the Participation Scale. Regression analysis identified risk factors for participation restriction including fear of abandonment by family members (odds ratio 2.63, 95% CI 1.35–5.13) and hospitalization at diagnosis (3.98, 1.0–7.32). We recommend four consolidated items as the basis for a simple screening tool to identify individuals at risk. These are the physical impact of leprosy, an emotional response to the diagnosis, female gender and having little or no education. Such a tool may form the basis for a screening and referral procedure to identify newly diagnosed individuals at risk of participation restrictions and in need of actions that may prevent such restrictions.

Original Papers
Pages 316 - 324
  • STEP: An intervention to address the issue of stigma related to leprosy in Southern Nepal

    • Hugh Cross
    • Ramesh Choudhary
    Volume 76, Issue 4

    | Published on December 2005

    This paper focuses primarily on the extent to which a Stigma Elimination Programme (STEP) affected the social participation of people affected by leprosy in southern Nepal. The Participation Scale (popularly known as The P Scale) was applied to compare leprosy affected people who participated in STEP groups with a control group comprising leprosy affected people who lived in villages where STEP had not been implemented. It was found that STEP participants had significantly higher levels of participation compared with controls and that their levels of social participation were higher than would be expected even for the general population. It was also found that leprosy affected people without visible deformity or ulceration (whether in the STEP group or not) do not appear to suffer participation restriction in southern Nepal.

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