Open Access Research

Gender differential on characteristics and outcome of leprosy patients admitted to a long-term care rural hospital in South-Eastern Ethiopia

José M Ramos123*, Miguel Martínez-Martín4, Francisco Reyes1, Deriba Lemma1, Isabel Belinchón5 and Félix Gutiérrez36

Author Affiliations

1 Gambo General Rural Hospital, Shashemane, Ethiopia

2 Service of Internal Medicine, Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Pintor Baeza, Alicante, 12 03010, Spain

3 Department of Clinical Medicine, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain

4 Service of Internal Medicine, Hospital La Princesa, Madrid, Spain

5 Service of Dermatology, Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Alicante, Spain

6 Infectious Diseases Unit, Hospital General Universitario de Elche, Alicante, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

International Journal for Equity in Health 2012, 11:56  doi:10.1186/1475-9276-11-56

Published: 4 October 2012

Abstract

Introduction

In previous studies, women are less aware of causation and symptoms of leprosy and have less access to health care coverage than men, thus contributing to their delay in seeking for treatment. We assess the gender differences in leprosy cases admitted to a rural referral hospital in Ethiopia for 7 and a half years.

Methods

Retrospective data of the leprosy patients admitted to referral hospital were collected using leprosy admission registry books from September 2002 to January 2010. Variables were entered in an Excel 97 database.

Results

During the period of study, 839 patients with leprosy were admitted; 541 (64.5%) were male, and 298 (35.6%) female. Fifteen per cent of female patients, and 7.3% of male patients were paucibacillary leprosy cases while 84.8% of female patients and 92.7% of males were multibacillary leprosy cases (p<0.001). Female leprosy patients were younger than male ones (median: 36 versus 44 years) (p<0.001). In the multivariate analysis, age (odds ratio [OR]: 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.96-0.98; p<0.001), admission for cardiovascular diseases (OR: 7.6, 95% CI: 1.9-29.3; p=0.004), admission for gastroenteritis (OR: 14.0; 95% CI: 1.7-117; p=0.02), admission from out patients clinic (OR: 2.04; 95% CI: 1.1-4.01; p=0.02), and mortality as final outcome (OR: 3.1, 95% CI: 1.2-8.0; p=0.02) were independently associated with female gender.

Conclusions

Female patients with leprosy admitted to hospital were younger, had a different profile of admission and a higher mortality rate than male ones.

Keywords:
Leprosy; Gender; Sex; Female; Hospital; Ethiopia