Modeling the Potential Impact of Community Health Volunteers in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Buruli Ulcer
Buruli ulcer (BU) is a debilitating disease affecting the skin, soft tissue, and bone. It is the third most common mycobacterial disease in humans. The mode of transmission is not fully understood, posing challenges in prevention, and delayed diagnosis. One effective approach to promote early diagnosis and treatment is the utilization of community health volunteers (CHVs) for active case-finding. In this study, we developed an agent-based model to investigate the impact of CHVs in referring BU patients for treatment. We compared the effects of two strategies: offering self-referral alone versus self-referral combined with CHVs, on the early diagnosis and treatment of BU. Our findings confirm previous knowledge that integrating CHVs in active case-finding leads to earlier detection of BU cases, decreasing the number of individuals recovering with major disabilities.