Healthcare seeking behaviour for Buruli ulcer in Benin: a model to capture therapy choice of patients and healthy community members

Mulder, A. A., Boerma, R. P., Barogui, Y., Zinsou, C., Johnson, R. C., Gbovi, J., van der Werf, T. S. & Stienstra, Y., Sep-2008, In : Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 102, 9, p. 912-920 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Buruli ulcer is a devastating condition emerging in West Africa. We investigated why patients often report late to the hospital. Health seeking behaviour determinants and stigma were studied by in-depth interviews in patients treated in hospital (n = 107), patients treated traditionally (n = 46) of whom 22 had active disease, and healthy community control subjects (n = 107). We developed a model capturing internal and external factors affecting decision making. With increasing severity, extent and duration of Buruli ulcer, a shift of influencing factors on health seeking behaviour appears to occur. Factors causing delay in presenting to hospital were the use of traditional medicine before presenting at the treatment centre; costs and duration of admission; disease considered not serious enough; witchcraft perceived as the cause of disease; and fear of treatment, which patients expected to be amputation. This study confirms the importance of self-treatment and traditional heating in this area. Our study was performed before antimicrobial treatment was introduced in Benin; we suggest that this model and the results from this analysis should be used as a baseline from which to measure the influence of the introduction of antimicrobial treatment on health seeking behaviour for Buruli ulcer in Benin. (C) 2008 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-920
Number of pages9
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2008


  • Buruli ulcer, Mycobacterium ulcerans, health care seeking behaviour, patient delay, therapeutics, Benin, TUBERCULOSIS PATIENTS, DISEASE-CONTROL, SOUTHERN BENIN, GHANA, INFECTION, LEPROSY, AFRICA, GENDER, DELAY, KNOWLEDGE

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