The contribution of community health workers to the control of Buruli ulcer in the Ngoantet area, Cameroon
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INTRODUCTION: Buruli ulcer (BU) is a skin disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. It is the third most common mycobacterial infection after tuberculosis and leprosy. Community Health Workers (CHWs) hold the potential to support patients and their families at the community level. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study to assess the participation of CHWs in the early diagnosis and treatment of BU in Ngoantet, Cameroon. The CHWs performance was measured using: the number of cases referred to the Ngoantet Health Centre, the percentage of accomplished referrals, the percentage of cases referred by CHWs confirmed by the staff of Ngoantet Health Centre. Data was analyzed using Epi-info version 3.4.1. and Microsoft Office Excel 2003. The study focused on 51 CHWs in the Ngoantet health area. RESULTS: The referral rate was 95.0%. Most of the suspicious cases (91.5%) referred were confirmed by health workers. Most CHWs (78.4%) declared that they had identified at least one presumptive case of BU infection. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the CHWs can play a key role in scaling up BU control activities using a referral system. This study confirms the role of home visits and inspections in the early detection and treatment of BU.
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