Title : Social labeling and stigmatization of people with healed CL scars using retrospective and introspective experiences: Implication to intervention
Leishmaniasis is one of the most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), caused by a parasite of the genus Leishmania which is transmitted through a sand-fly vector and mostly affects the poorest of the poor. It is characterized by physiological and clinical manifestations of lesions and sores that significantly influence the quality of life of people with CL even after the lesion healed. This is because the psychological burden of stigma and social discrimination is often more powerful than the physical impact of the disease itself. Labeling refers to name calling, and describing a person based on their CL scars or disfigurements rather than using their given name. In Ethiopia, we (a team researchers) have been conducted a six month ethnographic study in cutaneous leishmaniasis endemic districts using bio-psycho-social and spiritual model to incorporate a range of issues that not yet have received focused attention in the leishmaniasis research community. We also conclude that CL is a stigmatizing disease in Ethiopia even after the lesion has healed. People with CL are often the targets of negative and unfair beliefs, labeling and adjectives that the society has given to them, leading to significant psychological and social stigmatization. Therefore, efforts aimed at treating people with CL have to be extended beyond healing the active biological lesion to effectively addressing the psychological and social distress of the people with CL. This can mainly be done through educating people to use the ‘Person First Language’ approach and helping to avoid derogatory terms, words and affixes to call or name people with CL via language auditing.