Key sources of strength and resilience for persons receiving services for Hansen's disease (leprosy) in Porto Velho, Brazil: What can we learn for service development?

Van' Noordende, Anna T., Da Silva Pereira, Zoica Bakirtzief, and Kuipers, Pim (2021) Key sources of strength and resilience for persons receiving services for Hansen's disease (leprosy) in Porto Velho, Brazil: What can we learn for service development? International Health, 13 (6). pp. 527-535.

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Background: Individuals affected by Hansen's disease (leprosy) often experience stigma and discrimination. Greater psychosocial resilience may enable people to deal with such discrimination. This study aimed to explore sources of strength and resilience for individuals affected by Hansen's disease in Brazil.

Methods: We used a cross-sectional study design with a qualitative approach. Semistructured focus groups were conducted. Analysis comprised thematic categorisation of transcripts.

Results: Thirty-one participants were included: 23 individuals affected by Hansen's disease and 8 healthcare providers. We found that while a few individuals affected were provided with formal psychological support in the early phases of their treatment, many noted the importance of providing such support at this time. Most participants described relationships with and social support from family members, friends and with others affected by Hansen's disease as their primary source of resilience. A key context for building resilience was through the peer-level sharing and engagement experienced in self-care and support groups. Participants also emphasised the importance of providing appropriate information about Hansen's disease and the importance of beliefs and spirituality.

Conclusions: Hansen's disease services should seek to build resilience in early treatment through counselling and during treatment and beyond by having people affected getting together. Across both settings supporting family and social relationships, providing accurate information and acknowledging spiritual beliefs are important.

Item ID: 74203
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1876-3405
Keywords: discrimination, health services, leprosy, psychosocial resilience, relationships, stigma
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 18 May 2022 03:11
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320211 Infectious diseases @ 35%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420305 Health and community services @ 30%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5299 Other psychology > 529999 Other psychology not elsewhere classified @ 35%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200105 Treatment of human diseases and conditions @ 45%
20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200308 Outpatient care @ 55%
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