APH 2003, 61, 127-139:

Patient characteristics & treatment outcome in active and passive case finding of leprosy. A retrospective cohort study in the province of Niassa, Mozambique.

Y. Stuip, C.H. Phaff, M. Van den Akker

Keywords: -

Leprosy is a common problem in northern Mozambique with an estimated prevalence of 8.7/10,000 in 1999. During a Leprosy Elimination Campaign (LEC) the case detection rate rises as a consequence of active case finding. In the province of Niassa a LEC was organised in 9 out of 16 districts during the second trimester of 1999. Comparison of patient characteristics of 1999 LEC patients with those of a group of self-reporting patients from the second trimester of 1998 shows that LEC patients have a lower risk to abandon treatment than self-reporting patients. A thorough phase of information and propaganda raises people's awareness of the risks of leaving leprosy untreated and of medication being available for free. Also a lower risk to abandon treatment is found for female leprosy patients compared to their male counterparts. This result has been found in previous research and can be explained by the fact that women in developing countries tend to have a more subordinate position than men. They are therefore more prone to listen to the orders from the medical staff.

Multi Drug Treatment (MDT) clinics should develop a system for determining the disability grade of leprosy patients once they have finished their treatments. These disability grades after treatment may give important information on when active and passive case finding will be compared in the future. More research is needed to find out if LEC activities lead to less severe disabilities because of better awareness and early detection of patients.