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Knowledge of and Attitude Toward Leprosy in a Leprosy Endemic District, Eastern Ethiopia: A Community-Based Study

Introduction: Leprosy or Hansen’s disease is a potentially disabling disease that results in discrimination and self-stigma. A delay in case detection among leprosy patients is one of the factors resulting in disability. Although poor insights of the community toward leprosy lead to delays in case detection, studies on such matters are neglected in Ethiopia.

Objective: To assess the level of community knowledge and attitudes toward leprosy in Fedis District, Eastern Ethiopia.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out among 728 randomly selected households from July to August 2019. Each participant was interviewed using a pretested structured questionnaire consisting of participants’ socio-demographic background, questions related to knowledge of and attitudes toward leprosy. The collected data were entered using EpiData 3.1 and analyzed using STATA version 13. Chi-squared test, binary, and multivariable logistic regressions were applied as appropriate to assess the association between outcome and independent variables.

Results: Among 728 study participants, 608 (83.52%) of them had heard about leprosy. Among the study participants who had heard of leprosy, 346 (56.91%) of them had high knowledge of leprosy. Multivariable logistic regression revealed that study participants who completed grade 1– 8 (AOR=1.68, 95% CI=1.09– 2.58, P=0.017) and government employees (AOR=7.56, 95% CI=2.23– 25.63, P=0.001) were significantly associated with high level of knowledge of leprosy. Out of 608 study participants who had heard of leprosy, only 248 (40.79%) had a favorable attitude toward leprosy. Study participants who completed grade 1– 8 (AOR= 2.72, 95% CI=1.76– 4.19, P= 0.000) and urban inhabitants (AOR=0.49, 95% CI=0.31– 0.75, P= 0.032) were significantly associated with favorable attitude toward leprosy. Having high knowledge of leprosy was significantly associated with favorable attitudes toward leprosy.

Conclusion: This study revealed unfavorable attitudes toward leprosy among the community. Having a high overall knowledge level on leprosy has been shown to support a favorable attitude toward leprosy.

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Journal Article
Urgesa K
Bobosha K
Seyoum B
Geda B
Weldegebreal F
Mihret A
Howe R
Kaba M
Aseffa A
Year of Publication
Risk Management and Healthcare Policy
Volume 13
Number of Pages
ISSN Number
Publication Language