Integration of basic dermatological care into primary health care services in Mali.Bull World Health Organ. 2005 Dec; 83(12):935-41.BW
To evaluate, in a developing country, the effect of a short training programme for general health care workers on the management of common skin diseases--a neglected component of primary health care in such regions.
We provided a one-day training programme on the management of the skin diseases to 400 health care workers who worked in primary health care centres in the Bamako area. We evaluated their knowledge and practice before and after training.
Before training, knowledge about skin diseases often was poor and practice inadequate. We found a marked improvement in both parameters after training. We analysed the registers of primary health care centres and found that the proportion of patients who presented with skin diseases who benefited from a clear diagnosis and appropriate treatment increased from 42% before the training to 81% after; this was associated with a 25% reduction in prescription costs. Improved levels of knowledge and practice persisted for up to 18 months after training.
The training programme markedly improved the basic dermatological abilities of the health care workers targeted. Specific training may be a reasonable solution to a neglected component of primary health care in many developing countries.