African Health Sciences

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Assessment of community knowledge, attitude, and stigma of Buruli ulcer disease in Southern Nigeria

Charles Chukwunalu Nwafor, Anthony Meka, Joseph Ngozi Chukwu, Ngozi Ekeke, Chukwuka Alphonsus, Obinna Mbah, Nelson Okechukwu Madichie, Ufuoma Aduh, Matthew Ogbeifo, Bola Olubakin IseOluwa-Adelokiki, Joseph Ezebunafor Edochie, Joseph Ushaka, Kingsley Nnanna Ukwaja


Background: Poor knowledge can influence timely care-seeking among persons with Buruli ulcer disease (BUD).
Objectives: To assess community knowledge, attitude and stigma towards persons with BUD in endemic settings of Southern Nigeria.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey conducted among adult community members in four States of Southern Nigeria. A semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was administered to all participants.
Results: Of 491 adults who completed the survey, 315 (64.2%) belonged to the ≤40 years age group, 257 (52.3%) were males and 415 (84.5%) had some formal education. The overall mean (SD) knowledge score was 5.5±2.3 (maximum 10). Only 172 (35.0%) of the participants had a good knowledge of BUD. A total of 327 (66.6%) considered BUD as a very serious illness. Also, there was a high-level of stigma against BUD patients; 372 (75.8%) of the participants felt compassion for and desire to help them, 77 (15.7%) felt compassion but tended to stay away from them, and 53 (10.8%) feared them because they may infect them with the disease. Having a formal education and ethnicity were independent predictors of good knowledge of BUD.
Conclusion: There is poor community knowledge of BUD in endemic settings of Southern Nigeria which influenced the attitude and perceptions of community members towards persons with BUD

Keywords: Mycobacterium ulcerans disease, knowledge, perceptions, practices.
AJOL African Journals Online