Epidemiology of skin diseases in the Tigray region of Ethiopia

Ital J Dermatol Venerol. 2021 Oct;156(5):575-579. doi: 10.23736/S2784-8671.20.06556-6. Epub 2020 Mar 10.


Background: Skin diseases are very common among people living in poor countries. Although many of these pathologies might not be fatal, some can have a great impact on the patient, impairing their ability to work or worsening his/her relationship with the community. Understanding the epidemiology of skin diseases in these areas, determining the prevalence of different disorders, is fundamental to develop better educational and preventative programs.

Methods: We collected data from 467 consecutive patients referring to the Dermatology Center of the Axum Referral Hospital (Tigray region, Ethiopia). We investigated health status and environmental data. Diagnoses were classified into 6 groups (i.e. infectious, inflammatory, etc.). A statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS™ software version 25.0.1 (IBM SPSS Inc. Chicago, Illinois) and Stata™ software release 14.2 (Stata Corporation, College Station, Texas). Normality of the distributions was assessed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Categorical variables are compared with the use of the Chi Square test or the Fisher's exact test, as appropriate.

Results: Inflammatory and infectious diseases were the most frequently observed. No significant differences in inferential tests between access to water, housing, education level, and any diagnoses group were found. Curiously, a statistically significant difference between inflammatory diseases and unemployment was found.

Conclusions: Easier access to medical care, medications, and clean water, together with a cleaner work and home environment, are the first goals to be achieved in order to decrease morbidity in these areas.

MeSH terms

  • Educational Status
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Skin Diseases* / epidemiology