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Leprosy in Nkhotakota District Hospital

JE Chisi
A Nkhoma
Y Zverev
H Misiri
OO Komolafe


Objective: To study the profile of leprosy cases at Nkhotakota District Hospital in Central

Region of Malawi.

Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study of all registered cases of leprosy from records over a nine year period (January 1992 to April 2001)

Setting: Nkhotakota District Hospital-Central Region of Malawi.

Results: In total 526 cases of leprosy were identified from the records. The prevalence rates gradually increased from 0.998 per 10,000 cases in 1992 to 3.39 cases per 10,000 in 1995. There was however a gradual decline of prevalence rates from 1997/1998 that had 3.17 cases per 10,000 to 1.3 cases per 10,000 in 2001. 1996 registered 2.34 cases per 10,000. Fifty seven cases (10.8%) were found with children of the age of 14 or below and 469 (89.2%) cases were of adults. Paucibacillary leprosy presented with more cases than multibacillary leprosy (p<0.0000001). There were 80 (15.2%) cases of multibacillary leprosy compared to 446 (84.8%) cases of paucibacillary leprosy. In addition more males were affected by multibacillary leprosy than females (p <0.0001) and females were more affected by paucibacillary leprosy (p<0.01) than males. Conclusion: The results show that paucibacillary leprosy though minor in Malawi can become endemic as paucibacillary leprosy is a reflection of leprosy contacts in the population. We therefore recommend continued epidemiological surveys of leprosy. Training in leprosy detection should be encouraged so that this disease can be totally eradicated in Malawi.

East African Medical Journal Vol.80(12) 2003: 635-639

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