Buruli Ulcer: Social and Economic Impact
Access to health care is restricted in endemic areas and the treatment costs per patient exceed annual per capita health spending. In Ghana, average treatment costs are estimated at $780 (US) per patient. Treatment for early lesions could cost about $20-30 per patient with limited hospitalization. However, many adults earn less than $2 a day and family members are often forced to stay away from home for long periods in order to care for afflicted kin, greatly reducing income generation. An average hospital stay is 90 to 120 days; more severe cases may require hospital care for more than a year. The economic burdens of the disease therefore have potentially large negative effects on both the local economy and community development (Asiedu and Etuaful 1998;Thangaraj et al. 1999).