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