Socioeconomic Implications, Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media, Northern Nigeria.
Background: In developing countries, ear infections and deafness are usually neglected conditions due to
insufficient funds, work force, facilities, and knowledge. This paper highlights the socio-economic burden of chronic
suppurative otitis media on a northern Nigerian population with suggestions on ways to reduce this burden.
Methods: Seventy-four patients presenting to the Otorhinolaryngology unit, Department of surgery, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Plateau state, Nigeria with chronic suppurative otitis media from June 2007 to May 2008 were evaluated for age, gender, occupation, otomicroscopy and audiologic findings, microscopy, culture and sensitivity results, cost of consultation, investigations and treatment, type of complications and the social impact on individuals.
Results: Patients were aged 2 to 37 years (Mean age=9.23 years, SD=7.92). Forty-one (55.4%) patients were aged between 1 and 5 years. There were 8 (10.8%) students, 12 (16.2%) unskilled workers, 11 (14.9%) unemployed individuals and 2 (2.7%) professionals. Deafness was the commonest sequele. Minimum monthly wage was 7,500 ($47.5US). Initial cost of treatment per patient per year was 8,100 Naira ($51.3US) increasing to 73,100 Naira ($462.7US) if surgery and hearing aid was required. Eleven (15%) patients required surgery, only 2 (2.7%) patients could afford it. Four patients lost their jobs. Fourteen (18.9%) patients were lost to follow up.
Conclusion: The estimated cost of treatment for chronic suppurative otitis media is higher than the monthly
minimum wage for individuals in our environment where the cost of health care is the sole responsibility of the
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