[Community-based approaches in the fight against Buruli ulcer : review of the literature].
- Public Health Research
Buruli ulcer (BU) is an infectious skin disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. It mainly affects poor communities living close to bodies of water. In the absence of early treatment, this "neglected" disease can cause lasting deformities and may require limb amputation. It is reported in 34 countries and is the third most common mycobacterial disease in immunocompetent patients. Considerable progress has been made in treatment and prevention. The Cotonou Declaration (2009) describes the recommended control strategies. Although effective, current control strategies are limited because they do not take into account all the factors that influence emergence, prevention and cure of the disease. The control of Buruli ulcer mainly depends on intervention on social, cultural and psychosocial factors that influence preventive and self-care behaviour. The health promotion approach requires collaboration with populations in order to perform simultaneous actions on BU factors in the community setting. Although effective on many health problems, health promotion is not applied in the fight against BU due to the absence of action on all factors such as poverty. This article presents a review of the literature on BU strategies and community approaches. 407 relevant articles published in 1998-2013 period were examined. Eleven programmes are based on a top-down approach, which does not include populations in decision-making processes, unlike the bottom-up participatory approaches recommended in health promotion. Three health promotion programmes and 6 community-based participatory approaches were identified and examined. Community participation and empowerment constitute the basis for a community approach in the fight against Buruli ulcer.