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Non-specialized care of skin disorders: a cross-sectional survey of new patients attending dermatology clinic in a tertiary hospital in Jos, Northcentral Nigeria

Ruth O Adah
Collins John
Courage Uhunmwangho
Gabriel U Adah
Seline N Okolo


Background: Given the paucity of skin health specialists in Nigeria and the low level of awareness amongst its populace, patients seek for care for skin related disorders from different sources and are given a variety of remedies before accessing specialist care.

Objectives: This study was aimed at describing outlets visited and medication received by patients with skin disorders prior to attending the dermatology outpatient clinic in JUTH.

Methods: This was a cross sectional study conducted over one year. Information on socio-demography, sources and medication received prior to presentation was obtained and analysed using SPSS 23.

Results: The male: female ratio among 166 consenting new patients was 1:1.4. Prior to presentation patients sought care most frequently from Health facilities (68.1%), Patent medicine vendors-PMV (30.7%) and Traditional healers (21.7%). Overall, different steroid preparations were the most commonly used medications (56.6%) across all age groups with fixed combination preparations most frequently used (32.5%). Unconventional substances reportedly used by patients for skin disorders were urine, toothpaste, tomatoes, salt, water in which a life catfish had been kept and fats from a dead dog. Only 21.1% of the patients did not use any medication prior to presentation.

Conclusion: There is need to increase capacity in the care of common skin diseases at all levels of the health care system to decrease patronage of unconventional providers. Raising awareness of the general public on the potential dangers of inappropriate treatment of skin diseases and strengthen referral system is imperative to reduce the burden of skin diseases in the country.

Keywords: Non-specialized; skin diseases; unorthodox; treatment; dermatology; clinic.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905