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Davidson College

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Brazil: Public Health and Community Welfare


Hansen’s Disease is one of the world’s most misunderstood and stigmatized illnesses. Its patients are often discriminated against, and marginalized from society. This study examines what role a fault in information regarding technical knowledge plays in perpetuating this prejudice. Data is based on interviews collected from patients, family members, and persons from the most affluent sections of society, all from the city of Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil. In addition, medical professionals provide their input. This information is referenced against sociological theory and historical precedence, to examine the role society and government have played in formulating the situation today. The study concludes that while unawareness runs high in the municipality, the prejudice felt by patients was much lower than expected.


Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health


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