Edited by Beatriz Carrillo, Johanna Hood and Paul Kadetz
Chapter 2: Leprosy welfare: entrenched stigma and policy formation
This chapter examines China’s leprosy control during the collective era (1950s–1978) into the 1980s. In this health campaign, China adopted a universal type of welfare that is usually considered to foster stigma reduction. However, leprosy-related stigma seemed to be long-lasting, and even expanded as a counter-effect of the campaign, which requires a reconsideration of the role of stigma in welfare-programme design. This chapter shows how different kinds of stigma, which haunted both leprosy sufferers and the politically disadvantaged doctors who treated the disease – underpinned the design and efficacy of this welfare programme. This case provides a lesson how a stigmatised disease indeed needs support but that, unless the patients’ participation in all aspects of welfare is normalised, a future without the stigma of leprosy will remain an elusive goal.
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