The meaning of leprosy and everyday experiences: An exploration in Cirebon, Indonesia

Ruth M.H. Peters, Dadun, Mimi Lusli, Beatriz Miranda-Galarza, Wim H. Van Brakel, Marjolein B.M. Zweekhorst, Rita Damayanti, Francisia Saveria Sika Ery Seda, Joske F.G. Bunders, Irwanto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


It is imperative to consider the meaning of leprosy and everyday experiences of people affected by leprosy and key persons in the community if one aims to make leprosy services more effective, which appears necessary in Indonesia given the large numbers of new cases detected annually. However, little is written in the international literature about the experiences of people currently being treated for leprosy, those cured, or other key informants. This paper analyses the narratives of the people by drawing upon in-depth interviews with 53 participants and 20 focus groups discussions. The participants were purposively selected. We provide insights into the experiences of people and the meaning they give to leprosy and highlight aspect of aetiology, spirituality, religion, darkening of the skin, and sorcery. We also examine experiences of seeking care and focused on the impact of the disease in particular on the elderly and children. In conclusion, the continued need for implementation of leprosy services in Indonesia is very evident. The diversities in people's experiences with leprosy indicate a demand for responsive leprosy services to serve the diverse needs, including services for those formally declared to be "cured."

Original languageEnglish
Article number507034
JournalJournal of Tropical Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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