Leprosy is a persistent global health problem with more than 200.000 new cases recorded annually, predominantly affecting underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries. Indonesia has the third highest number of people affected by leprosy in the world. People with leprosy are often heavily stigmatized as misconceptions surround the disease, creating a barrier to implement effective healthcare programmes.
One of the main challenges in the clinical management of leprosy are leprosy reactions that may cause nerve damage and lead to disabilities. We are conducting a randomized controlled trial (called MetLep) to evaluate if adjunctive therapy with metformin in addition to standard antibiotic treatment, can prevent or reduce leprosy reactions in patients with multibacillary leprosy. In preparation of this trial, we will perform a community-based knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP)-survey combined with in-depth interviews and focus group discussions on leprosy and stigma to improve our understanding of the local communities, the socio-health aspects and lived experiences of persons with leprosy and their family members in South Sulawesi. Study outcomes will guide tailored interventions and engagement activities aimed at improving leprosy literacy in the wider community, reducing stigma and optimisizing the implementation and uptake of the MetLep Trial.