Purpose: In general, multidrug therapy (MDT) completion rate and the change in disability levels before and after medical treatment are reported as outcomes in leprosy programmes. Changes in activity and social participation levels are rarely reported, possibly because the parameters are more difficult to measure. The study aimed to assess and evaluate the changes in social participation among leprosy-affected persons after completion of MDT.
Method: An observational study was conducted among 108 newly-diagnosed leprosy- affected clients, who were registered at the Leprosy Referral Hospital in Champa, Chhattisgarh. Their disability levels pre- and post- MDT were assessed using the WHO Disability Grading, and their social participation level was assessed using the Participation Scale.
Results: Of the 108 clients registered during the study period, 90 completed the full course of MDT and were included in the analysis. The majority of these 90 clients or 83% were multibacillary and 23% had Grade 2 disability at the time of diagnosis. At the end of MDT with steroids therapy for reaction and neuritis, the proportion of clients with no participation restriction increased from 76% to 93%. Clients with visible impairments had more restriction as compared to those with no deformity or no visible deformity, before and after MDT. Among those with visible impairments, 78% had mild to severe restriction before MDT and it declined to 26% on completion of treatment.
Conclusion: Presence of Grade 2 disability at the time of diagnosis was significantly associated with participation restriction. MDT and steroid therapy for management of reaction and/or neuritis improves the participation level of leprosy-affected clients, suggesting that early detection and appropriate management would reduce their risk of participation restriction.