Dispel myths and stigma associated with Buruli Ulcer
Mrs. Lynda Arthur, Country Director of Health Foundation Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has called on health workers to intensify efforts to dispel the myths and stigmas associated with Buruli Ulcer and provide accurate information about it to encourage patients to report early for treatment.
She explained that because of the myths and stigmas that surround the disease, lack of awareness of the current World Health Organization recommended treatment, poor access to health facilities and the attitude of some health personnel, some patients do not report at all or report late for treatment.
Mrs Arthur was speaking at the opening session of workshops on early case detection and referrals of Buruli ulcer disease, for 60 Community Health Volunteers and School Health Education Coordinators at Jacobu in the Amansie Central District on Monday.
The week-long workshop was organized by Health Foundation Ghana and the National Buruli Ulcer Control Programme in collaboration with Fontilles Lucha Contra La Lepra, Spain, Amansie Central District Health Administration and the Ghana Education Service.
The Workshop is to train participants in early detection and reporting of cases in schools and communities, to empower health workers at the district hospital with knowledge and skills in basic management of the ulcer as well as the effective dissemination and data management of cases.
Mrs Arthur stated that in 2007 there were a total of 625 new cases nationwide as against 901 in 2008, an indication that perhaps interventions to address the problems of under reporting and late reporting are not working.
She said “since 2006 her organization with the support from Fontilles, a health organization has worked closely with the National Buruli Ulcer Control Programme to promote early case detection, reporting and documentation of the disease.
“It has also provided medical and theatrical support to health facilities in a number of communities of endemic areas and worked to increase the awareness of the availability of treatment for the disease”.
The Country Director hinted that Fontilles and her organization has decided to extend their support to the district in the form of training programmes, undertake public education in selected communities in the district and also provide medical and theatre support to the district referral centre.
Mrs Agnes Adu, Amansie Central Director of Health Service said out of the 34 cases reported to the district hospital from June to December last year, seven patients had been treated and discharged, 10 have undergone skin grafting and 15 were still on admission.
Mr Matthew Tay, Amansie Central District Coordinator of the District Assembly said one of the greatest threats to the welfare of the people in the district was the Buruli ulcer menace which was affecting people and children of tender age.
“It is estimated that about 200 to 300 people are affected, and the Assembly is committed to fighting the disease to safeguard the life of the people,” he said.