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Often people underestimate leprosy with skin diseases and use ointment mostly as a first step treatment. Their lack of knowledge halts them to get proper treatment. Even if they guess it as leprosy, fear of stigma became a barrier to act rationally. So, only when symptoms became more visible, they rush to medical doctor.
Dr. Md. Redwanur Rahman said, "We found, patients used to use ointment and homeopathy treatment prior to medical treatment." Because, people misinterpret those symptoms with skin disease. Only after medical test they came to know about their diseases. Lack of knowledge, fear of stigma, confusion about treatment, superstition etc. are the salient factors to influence health seeking behavior.
Romesa Begum, aged 42, lived in Rajshahi with her husband. When she first found some spot in her skin she used ointment for three month. Her husband brought her those salve. After three month he took her to homeopathy doctor and continues homeopathy supplements for few days. Later, their nephew marked those symptoms as leprosy. So, they went to medical hospital for further treatment.
Dr. Md. Fakrul Islam said, "Patients socio-economic and cultural factors are highly correlated with their health seeking behavior." According to their research, poor people go to medical doctors as a last step of treatment procedure. In their society people consider leprosy as a touchable diseases and punishment form God. So, socially no one wants to disclose themselves as leprosy patients. Fear of stigma has strong influence there.
Dr. Md. Fakrul Islam also said that, about 10% patients respectively, they lose their eye's power and face allergic symptom after taking MDT. 15% respondent face headache and white skin became black. And Only 45% respondent said that they have no side-effect.
Md. Yeamin Ali, M.Phil fellow, Institute of Environmental Science, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Dr. Md. Fakrul Islam, Professor, Dept. of Social Work, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Md. Redwanur Rahman, Associate Professor, Institute of Environmental Science, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Md. Liton Hossen, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Jebunnesa Islam, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Mostafa Khanom Shema, M.Phil fellow, Institute of Environmental Science, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Akib Javed, MS, Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Mst. Rupali Akhtar, MSS, Dept. of Political Science, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
A paper about the study on health seeking behavior regarding leprosy patient.