This study aims to determine to what extent a mobile Application-supported SDR PEP delivery system is more effective and feasible than the present paper-based method.
Testing an App supported delivery system for Leprosy Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) services
- NLR- until No Leprosy Remains - international office
Leprosy still counts for around 200,000 new cases per year globally. India with around 60% of the annual new cases (120,000) remains the worst affected. Single dose rifampicin post-exposure prophylaxis (SDR PEP), a medicine is given after exposure to a leprosy case, has been proven to be the only effective means for Leprosy prevention. It is proven to provide protection to around 60% of the contacts exposed to a Leprosy case. Though India decided to adopt SDR PEP nationally, implementation has so far been far less than optimum. A barrier may be the labour intensive and time-consuming process of SDR PEP implementation involving tracing the contacts based on new cases, listing of contacts, screening them on multiple criteria, and administration of SDR PEP to the eligible contacts. This study aims to provide evidence of efficiency of a digital PEP-delivery support system versus the traditional paper-based system for PEP activities – timely PEP administration to the eligible contacts (family, household, neighbour and social).
NLR India proposes to develop a mobile App to assist health care providers, primarily the field workers, for whom the App will be an easy to use tool for listing of contacts compared to paper work. The App will provide a module for screening contacts based on multiple criteria instead of using their memory for using the criteria, and will readily provide the list of contacts eligible for SDR PEP and for referral for further examination and treatment for diseases like Leprosy and Tuberculosis. Before developing the App, NLR India will conduct a qualitative exploratory study, including key informant interviews and focus group discussions, to find out the reasons for the current low SDR PEP implementation. The study will be conducted in two districts of West Bengal. Participants will be the staff involved in delivery of SDR-PEP namely the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and the Medical Officer of the local health facility/ primary health centre (PHC).
This information will be used for designing the App and assessing the effect of using the App for a year. If found effective, NLR India will assist the Government in scaling-up the implementation of the App supported SDR PEP program in other districts and states of India.