How can I support someone diagnosed with leprosy (Bengali)

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First of all, it is very important that you know well about leprosy, its transmission and the treatment.

It is important that you eliminate the false beliefs and follow the correct information. By so doing, you can reduce the fear, and the person affected with leprosy can get full treatment, take good care of her or his body and protect the body from further damage.

Also, by so doing, the person affected does not have to experience social rejection or exclusion anymore. Treat your family or community members like you would treat everyone else around and like you did before the diagnosis. Make the person affected feel that she or he is worthy.

If false beliefs, social rejection and exclusion of persons affected by leprosy are still very present in your community, please talk to a health worker. There may be the option to organize meetings to inform the community about leprosy, its transmission and the treatment. Also, everyone needs to know the importance of good mental wellbeing of the person affected for taking good care of the body.

If you have doubts about the person’s mental health, you can try to support and give her or him the chance to talk about the feelings, thoughts or experiences. You can inform her or him that there are ways to get psychosocial support such as joining a self-help group. Here she or he can talk about her or his feelings and get support from other people in the same situation, she or he can learn about her or his rights, and how to make use of them. She or he can learn how to make own decisions and take control of her or his life. But there might also be other options, like individual support. Please talk to a health worker and ask for the options available.

If you have doubts that she or he has special or serious problems or if it is an emergency, such as suicidal thoughts, please directly talk to a health worker. The health worker can inform you about specialists or follow-up care.

If the person affected agrees, you can of course support her or him in caring about the body, in healing and rehabilitation processes, such as regular and effective self-care. You can get detailed information on how to care about the body and protect it from further damage in the following modules. This way, the affected person will have a better chance of improving his or her health! For many patients joining a self-care group is a great option, too. Here she or he can train together with other persons on how to take good care of the body. They can encourage each other and give advice on how to do a regular and effective self-care. Also, she or he can get support in mental and economic issues. Please ask a health worker and find out the options available to get support.

At times, you too, as a family member, can experience social rejection. If you care about the person infected with Leprosy, it can be very stressful. If you need to get support, please talk to a health worker and ask for family psychosocial support. There might be a self-support group for family or community members of a person who is infected, where you can talk about your feelings and get support from other people in the same situation. You can learn about your rights and the rights of people who are infected with Leprosy, and how to make use of them. But there might also be other options, like individual support. Please talk to a health worker and ask for the options available.

Sources
  • German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association - www.dahw.de