Attacking social exclusion: combining rehabilitative and preventive approaches to leprosy in Bangladesh

Based on primary research on the applicability of social exclusion frameworks to the experiences of people with leprosy in Bangladesh, this article compares two means of intervention: health education of society, and socio-economic rehabilitation of individual patients. These interventions commonly remain distinct, but it is concluded that only by integrating the two approaches can deep-seated prejudices be removed, facilitating early detection and elimination of leprosy. Processes of inclusion are more effective when they involve the same actors that promoted exclusion, and when they create bridges across the rigid divides separating the excluded from the excluding society or group.