Delayed detection of leprosy cases: A systematic review of healthcare-related factors

Yudhy Dharmawan, Ahmad Fuady, Ida J. Korfage, Jan Hendrik Richardus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background In new leprosy cases, grade 2 disability (G2D) is still a public health burden worldwide. It is often associated with the delayed leprosy diagnoses that healthcare systems should play a crucial role in preventing. The aim of this systematic review was to identify healthcare factors related to delays in case detection in leprosy. Methods PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) was used as a guideline in this research. The study protocol was registered in the PROSPERO (Inter-national Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews) with reference code CRD42020189274. Data was collected from five electronic databases: Embase, Medline All Ovid, Web of Science, Cochrane CENTRAL, and the WHO Global Health Library. Results After applying the selection criteria for original empirical studies, and after removing dupli-cates, we included 20 papers from 4313 records. They had been conducted in ten countries and published between January 1, 2000, and January 31, 2021. We identified three catego-ries of healthcare factors related to delayed case. 1) Structural factors, such as i) financial and logistic issues, and geographical circumstances (which we classified as barriers); ii) Health service organization and management including the level of decentralization (classi-fied as facilitators). 2) Health service factors, such as problems or shortages involving refer-ral centers, healthcare personnel, and case-detection methods. 3) Intermediate factors, such as misdiagnosis, higher numbers of consultations before diagnosis, and inappropriate healthcare services visited by people with leprosy. Conclusions Delays in leprosy case detection are due mainly to misdiagnosis. It is crucial to improve the training and capacity of healthcare staff. To avoid misdiagnosis and reduce detection delays, national leprosy control programs should ensure the sustainability of leprosy control within integrated health services.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0010756
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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