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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

GUIDELINES: ALL ABOUT STIGMA

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Health workers and social workers who encounter stigma in leprosy and other health conditions now have a handy new tool to help them understand and deal with it better.

Guidelines to reduce stigma is a four-part series released earlier this year by the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP). The guidelines are the outcome of several years of study, culminating in a major stigma research workshop held in Amsterdam in 2010.

"What is health-related stigma?" provides basic information on stigma, its causes, manifestations and effects. "How to assess health-related stigma" describes ways to assess stigma using quantitative instruments and measurements. "A roadmap to stigma reduction: an empowerment intervention" offers recommendations on how to develop an approach for reducing stigma. Last but not least, "Counseling to reduce stigma" explains the use of counseling at a basic level in dealing with stigma.

"We made sure that people affected by leprosy were well represented and well consulted with regard to the content of the guidelines," said Dr. Wim van Brakel, one of the main contributors.

The guidelines are electronic publications that can be downloaded from the ILEP website (www.ilep.org.uk). A template is available to facilitate translation into other languages.