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A review of noma cases in a tertiary hospital located in a conflict endemic region in Nigeria


Noma, a neglected tropical disease (NTD), is a preventable oro-facial gangrenous infection causing destruction of oro-facial tissues if untreated. This descriptive study was conducted in North-Eastern Nigeria which has witnessed armed insurgency increasing risk of noma. Data was obtained from patients' records at a tertiary hospital after a dental educational outreach using radio and visits to the hospital's ante/postnatal clinics. Data analysis was conducted at 95% confidence interval with p≤ 0.05 considered significant. Records of 49 patients were retrieved but 31 (63.3%) were utilised due to poor documentation. Age ranged from 2-63 years. Children (0-16 years) and Adults (17-59 years) were 67.7% and 25.8% respectively. Males were 13 (41.9%) and females, 18 (58.1%). Poor oral hygiene and malnutrition were common findings. Stage (WHO Staging System) 2 (51.6%) and 4 (22.6%) were the most common presentation. Successfully managed and referred cases were 51.6% and 48.4% respectively. Successful management was associated with early stages of noma (p = <0.001). Children were most vulnerable. Outreaches using radio and education to pregnant women and nursing mothers can boost early presentation and better outcomes. Attention to case documentation and inclusion of noma into the WHO list of NTDs are recommended.

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Journal Article
Owobu T
Ojukwu BT
Azah OO
Sulaiman SA
Halilu M
Nnawuihe UC
Sanni AB