Noma, a neglected disease mostly affecting children, with a 90% mortality rate if untreated, is an orofacial gangrene that disintegrates the tissues of the face in less than 1 week. Noma can become inactive with early stage antibiotic treatment. Traditional healers, known as mai maganin gargajiya in Hausa, play an important role in the health system and provide care to noma patients.
The authors conducted 12 in-depth interviews with caretakers who were looking after noma patients admitted at the Noma Children’s Hospital and 15 traditional healers in their home villages in Sokoto state, northwest Nigeria. They explored perceptions of noma, relationship dynamics, healthcare practices and intervention opportunities. Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed and translated. Manual coding and thematic analysis were utilised.
This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Operational Research Capacity Building Programme led by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)
Farley E, Bala HM, Lenglet A, Mehta U, Abubakar N, Samuel J, de Jong A, Bil K, Oluyide B, Fotso A, Stringer B, Cuesta JG, Venables E. ‘I treat it but I don’t know what this disease is’: a qualitative study on noma (cancrum oris) and traditional healing in northwest Nigeria. International Health. 2019. Epub Ahead of Print.
I treat it but I don’t know what this disease is’: a qualitative study on noma (cancrum oris) and traditional healing in northwest Nigeria