Background: Skin diseases have only recently been considered as a possible public health problem in developing countries. Data supporting this matter are scarce. The aim of this study is to report the experience of a specialized dermatologic center in Bamako (Mali) in order to complete two previous studies conducted in the Bamako area: a prevalence study in the general population and a study in nonspecialized health centers of Bamako. It is our intention to provide a comprehensive picture of the problem of skin diseases in an African developing country.
Methods: We retrospectively collected all cases of skin diseases diagnosed during consultations provided at the Institut Marchoux in Bamako, the only center specializing in dermatology in Mali, during the year 1993.
Results: A total of 10,575 new outpatients were seen with 10,889 skin diseases. The main skin diseases registered were as follows: infectious dermatoses (41% of all diagnoses, including scabies (16.6%), superficial mycoses (13.6%), and primary pyoderma (5.6%)), dermatitis (20.4%), papular urticaria (4.4%), acne (4.2%), pityriasis alba (3.6%), keratoderma (3.6%), and urticaria (3%). Typical tropical infectious diseases accounted for only 1% of all diagnoses.
Conclusions: It appears that certain skin diseases (mainly scabies and pyoderma) are an important health problem for the population of the Bamako area. Public health policies should be implemented in order to manage this problem rationally.