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Research Articles

Socio-demographic factors, treatment-seeking behaviours and common clinical presentations of leprosy patients in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Authors:

Hema Weerakoon,

Provincial Director of Health Services Office, North Central Province, Anuradhapura, LK
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Hasantha Banduwardana,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Hasantha
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences
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Ranthilaka Ranawaka,

General Hospital, Kalutara, LK
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Palitha Bandara,

Provincial Director of Health Services Office, North Central Province, Anuradhapura, LK
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Upali Shantha Kumara,

Regional Director of Health Services Office, Anuradhapura, LK
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Nimal Ariyarathna,

Regional Director of Health Services Office, Anuradhapura, LK
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Janith Warnasekara

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Janith

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences

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Abstract

Leprosy is eliminated from most of the countries while it remains a problem in Sri Lanka. This study was aimed to describe the epidemiology, associated factors, clinical presentation, and treatment-seeking behaviours of leprosy patients.

 

A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among leprosy patients diagnosed between 13th February 2019 to 12th February 2020 at the Dermatology Clinic of the Teaching Hospital Anuradhapura. Each patient was interviewed using questionnaires prepared in the Sinhala language. Questionnaires were used to obtain data on the following variables; epidemiology, associated factors, treatment-seeking behaviour, and clinical aspects of the leprosy patients.

 

The study included 66 leprosy patients. Most of the patients (56%) were males, and most (50%) were in the age range of 30-50 years. Only a minority of the cases were childhood leprosy cases (10.6%). Most of the patients were housewives (26%), and 19% were farmers. More than one-third of patients (41%) had income less than 10,000 LKR per month. More than two-thirds of the patients (68%) had prior knowledge about leprosy, and most of them knew its aetiology before being diagnosed as leprosy patients. Approximately 27% of patients had previous contact with a leprosy patient. More than 50% of these patients were not timely referred for treatment due to delay in seeking medical attention, and they were referred one year after acquiring the disease, and 11(16%) patients warranted repeat treatment. Most patients (74%) had paucibacillary leprosy, and most (47%) presented with hypopigmented skin lesions.

 

Most of the Leprosy patients in Anuradhapura share known preventable socio-demographic risk factors. Therefore, authorities should pay special attention to the prevention of leprosy in specified communities in Sri Lanka.

How to Cite: Weerakoon, H., Banduwardana, H., Ranawaka, R., Bandara, P., Kumara, U.S., Ariyarathna, N. and Warnasekara, J., 2022. Socio-demographic factors, treatment-seeking behaviours and common clinical presentations of leprosy patients in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura Medical Journal, 16(1), pp.6–12. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/amj.v16i1.7669
Published on 23 Mar 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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