Department of… Research

Buruli ulcer and wound management


[More about the project]




[More about the project]



Financing:  Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung
Duration:  2018 - 2020
Researcher (Department Infectious Diseases and tropical Medicine):  Thomas Junghanss, Marija Stojkovic
Cooperation partner:

  • B. Bonfoh, Centre Suisse de Recherche Scientifique en Côte d'Ivoire (CSRS), Abidjan, Elfenbeinküste
  • G. Pluschke, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Schweiz

The project rolls out combined innovative low-tech thermotherapy with heat packs and WHO recommended wound management in a Buruli ulcer (BU)-endemic district of West Africa. It addresses three key areas of considerable clinical and public health importance in the region:

-  to better help people managing the disabling disease BU that primarily affects children in West Africa

-  to implement WHO recommended general wound management for all types of wounds with tools available at the peripheral level of the health care system

-  to prevent systemic life threatening sequelae (e.g. sepsis and rheumatic fever) and permanent local damage (e.g. motor and sensory disability) by early recognition and treatment of wounds at the community level.

The project translates available research findings already validated on the secondary health care level into clinical practice at the periphery (primary health care level). The string of our previous work from the development of the BU thermotherapy-wound management–package to the proof of its efficacy provides all necessary skills, tools and documents to immediately proceed into practical community application. Operational endpoints are

-  coverage and quality of WHO recommended wound management training of health care personnel at the primary health care level (health posts);
-  coverage, success rate and quality of care for patients with BU and other wounds; denominator controlled at health post level and high-quality Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) data.

The project is embedded into a stable multidisciplinary working environment at Côte d’Ivoire, including an HDSS with a longstanding record of partnership and successful community-based operational research.

The project builds on the principles laid out by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and

·  targets all patients with a broken down skin barrier independent of the cause (patient centred health care)
·  brings diagnosis and treatment close to the community
·  educates and trains both community members and health care workers
·  measures the health intervention outcome

The project is fully in line with the new integrated strategy for the skin NTDs of WHO’s Department of Control of NTDs (WHO/NTD).