TROPICAL DISEASES OR POVERTY RELATED DISEASES?
17th CONGRESS OF THE EUROPEAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY AND VENEREOLOGY
Paris, 17-21 September 2008
W07.7 TROPICAL DISEASES OR POVERTY-RELATED DISEAES?
1Director General, National Institute for Health Migration and Poverty, Rome, Italy Aims. Skin diseases have only recently been considered as a possible public health problem in developing countries, but data supporting this matter are scarce. The aim of this study is to report the experience of a specialized dermatological centre in Mekele, the capital city of Tigray region in Ethiopia. It is our intention to provide a comprehensive picture of the problem of dermatological disorders in an African developing country.
Methods. We have prospectively collected all cases of skin diseases diagnosed at the Italian Dermatological Centre (IDC), the only centre specialized in dermatology in Tigray.
Results. A total of 26,461 outpatients were examined at the IDC between January 2005 to September 2007. The main skin diseases registered are: infectious dermatoses (41%) including superficial mycoses (16,1%), scabies (6,4%), pyoderma (6%) and viral infections (3,2%); among non infectious dermatoses we recorded eczematous dermatitis (22.4%), disorder of pigmentation (11%), lichen planus (2%), psoriasis (1,6%) and prurigo (4.3%).
Conclusions. In our study, prevalence for disorders such as scabies, pyoderma or superficial mycoses is high, especially in children. The reasons for such high prevalence in Ethiopia and other tropical countries appear to be poverty, overcrowding, poor hygiene, difficulty in accessing clean water, promiscuity, and inadequate management of these diseases by families, as well as by health care providers. It appears that certain skin diseases (mainly communicable diseases) are
an important health problem in Tigray area. Public health policies should be implemented in order to manage this problem rationally, in fact tropical diseases are undoubtedly diseases of the poor, but despite the limited resources available for
research and control, simple and effective interventions have to be delivered to the population.
1. Morrone A. Poverty, Health and Development. Int J Dermatol 2007;46(S2):1-9.
2. Hotez P, Remme J, Buss P, et al. Combating tropical infectious diseases: report of
the diseases control priorities in Developing Countries project. Clin Infect Dis