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Healthcare-seeking behaviour in reporting of scabies and skin infections in Ghana: A review of reported cases
Abstract Background Scabies is a neglected tropical disease. In resource-poor settings, scabies and other skin infections are often unreported to a health centre, or misdiagnosed. Dermatological expertise and training are often lacking. Little is known about patient healthcare-seeking behaviour. This study reviewed diagnosed skin infections reported to urban (Greater Accra) and rural (Oti region) study health centres in Ghana over six months in 2019. Methods Study staff received classroom and clinical dermatology training. Skin infection diagnoses and anonymised patient information were recorded. Descriptive statistics and spatial analysis described patient demographics, and distance travelled to clinic, noting bypassing of their nearest centre. Results Overall, 385 cases of skin infections were reported across the Greater Accra and Oti study clinics, with 45 scabies cases (11.6%). For scabies, 29 (64.4%) cases were in males. Scabies was the third most common diagnosis, behind bacterial dermatitis (102, 26.5%) and tinea (75, 19.5%). In the rural Oti region, 48.4% of patients bypassed their nearest clinic, travelling a mean 6.2 km further than they theoretically needed to. Females travelled further in comparison to males. Conclusions There must be greater public and professional awareness of scabies and skin infections as high-burden but treatable conditions, along with assessment of their community burden.