Due to the shortage of drugs to treat patients at the Ganta Leprosy and TB Rehabilitation Center in Nimba County, the number of Buruli Ulcer cases have reached 300.
Buruli Ulcer is an emerging infectious disease and is the third most common mycobacterial disease of the immunocompetent host after tuberculosis and leprosy.
On the tour of the center on April 17, 2019, the Officer-in-Charge of the hospital, John Saa Brimah, said the government stopped supplying the treatment drugs for the illness since July, 2018.
Brimah said the hospital is totally out of essential drugs, thus forcing the institution to ask all those who are under treatments to purchase their own drugs and any of the pharmacies in Ganta, a commercial hub of Nimba.
“We are receiving patients here everyday, but we do not have the required drugs to treat them,” he said.
“We need sore dressing materials to dress those who are affected,” Brimah appealed.
The disease starts on its victim like a knot or rash, but makes the affected part and its surroundings very red, resulting in a big sore.
Mr. Brimah said the cost of drugs in treating the illness is so expensive, with 10 tablets sold for US$20, and a patient is entitled to take 120 tablets as a dose. “Those who cannot afford the cost had left, but they eventually ended up losing their lives,” he added.
“As of food supply,” he said, “the patients are sharing the food government sent for the TB and leprosy patients.”
Brimah said there are 41 leprosy patients undergoing treatment at the center, many of them being already amputated, “because they are not doing any outreach, an activity for which government withdrew its funding.”
One of patients has therefore called on the government to come to their aid, because the cost of the medicine is too high.
“People are dying, if nothing is done immediately,” said a man who carried his daughter at the center for treatment, when he purchased the required medicines US$240 for daughter’s treatment.