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Household Perceptions, Treatment-Seeking Behaviors and Health Outcomes for Buruli Ulcer Disease in a Peri-Urban District in Ghana

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DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2012.23024    3,214 Downloads   5,545 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Buruli ulcer (BU) has been associated with very unimaginable outcomes. It is flesh eating, disfiguring and economically dehydrating. Yet the disease is still mostly shrouded in mystery. Consequently, people have different perceptions about it and hence adopt different treatment behaviorss towards it; notwithstanding the free treatment for it. The purpose of this paper is to identify and examine respondents’ perceptions and the influence these have on their health seeking behaviorss. Eighty-six BU patients who had been treated or were being treated of BU in the Ga West District Health Center in Ghana were sampled for this study. A structured questionnaire and a qualitative in-depth interview guide were used to elicit the data. Some of the interviewees held the belief that the disease is caused by their adversaries, including witches. More than half of the respondents, however, did not have any idea about the disease and thought it is just the work of God. The first point of call for health care for most of the patients studied was herbalists or else they used herbs. Nearly a quarter of them also engaged in self medication, including the use of ‘pain killers’ and ointments, since they took the first signs for ordinary boils. Perceptions of the cause of the disease influenced health seeking behaviors, which further influenced treatment outcomes. A lot of education is needed on the symptoms of the disease, including encouraging early seeking of care at the District Health Center.

Cite this paper

Owusu, A. & Adamba, C. (2012). Household Perceptions, Treatment-Seeking Behaviors and Health Outcomes for Buruli Ulcer Disease in a Peri-Urban District in Ghana. Advances in Applied Sociology, 2, 179-186. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2012.23024.

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