Integrated wound management is focused on sustainable prevention and care of wounds in settings with limited resources. It comprises identification, treatment and preventive measures.
Many NTDs can cause wounds and other skin complications. Good and timely wound management as well as access to clean water is vital to prevent infections and disabilities. Unfortunately, wound management is often expensive and mainly ineffective in the areas where NTDs occur. In these areas the number of health professionals is limited, the health workers are minimally trained in providing curative care and the villager self-care fails.
For which NTDs is this relevant?
Well-known examples of NTDs that can cause wounds and other skin complications are leprosy, Buruli ulcer, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and guinea worm.
The severe or extensive wounds (for example ulcer type in Buruli ulcer) and skin problems have to be treated at a suitable health facility, whereas many simple wounds and skin complications can be managed at home by the affected person him or herself. There is a substantial evidence base to support self-management using locally available materials (also called ‘self-care’). In this, the training of health workers in providing affordable wound care and in teaching affected people self-care is important. Another requirement for effective self-care is the availability of clean water. Therefore, improving access to clean water will contribute to a better integrated wound management.