Self care: a catalyst for community development.
This paper presents salient findings from an evaluation of a programme designed to address the issue of leprosy related stigma in Southern Nepal. The programme under the acronym STEP (Stigma Elimination Programme) adopted an approach that was dependent on the empowerment of people affected by leprosy. Empowerment was facilitated, primarily through self-care group association. The premise was that, as people became increasingly self confident, as an effect of self-care, their focus could be shifted from the pursuit of personal goals to activiteies that could be undertaken for the benefit of their commmunities. As the self-care groups evolved, all 10 groups adopted a community development agenda. This paper outlines the projects that the groups planned and initiated and describes the method used to validate their efforts. It also gives results of surveys conducted to assess the impact of the programme on stigma, activity limitation and impairment.