Fighting against communicable and neglected diseases

Fighting Buruli’s ulcer in Togo seaside region and in the Allada region of Benin

Sixteen year-old Koffi DAKPETI was in middle school when he caught the disease.
It all began with an edema on his left arm. His parents thought it was a sprain, so during the first weeks he received traditional massages. Despite this treatment, the pain did not go away and they presumed he had been bewitched. In the following three months, Koffi received only self-medication and consultations with traditional healers. This period spent at home led to the ulceration of the lesion, which was so painful that he could neither sleep nor go to school.
His parents then called his elder sister who lived in Lomé, the capital of Togo, who wanted Koffi taken to hospital for analyses and an X-ray. When he went to the regional hospital of Tsevie, the analyses showed he had Buruli’s ulcer. He was immediately put in a special ward.

The mobile physical therapist taken on by Handicap International began monthly reeducation sessions with Koffi in his farm. He showed the boy how to do exercises, using the technical and human resources of his immediate environment. Today, Koffi can get around much more easily and can use his limb for everyday activities. He has gone back to school and also helps his father in the fields.

Location of Project Seaside region to the south of Togo and a pilot area in Benin
Name of Association
Handicap International France
Project Partners
(financial and operational)
  • Fondation ANESVAD
  • Handicap International
  • PNLUB-LP Togo (Programme National de Lutte contre l’ulcère de Buruli, la lèpre et le Pian)
  • CNAO (Centre National d’Appareillage Orthopédique)
  • Centre Hospitalier Régional de Tsevie
  • DAHW (Greman association)
  • OMS
  • PNLUB Benin

Program description

The World Bank estimates that among people living below the poverty line, one in five is disabled. Disability creates additional costs, resulting in loss of income, restricts access to health, education, employment, and community life, and forces people with disabilities and limited resources into social and economic exclusion.

The Sanofi Espoir Foundation partners the NGO Handicap International in Togo since four years to fight Buruli ulcer, the third most frequent mycobacteriosis after tuberculosis and leprosy. The actions on the ground in support of the country’s Ministry of Health and local stakeholders involve community awareness-raising, training health professionals, the detection and early management of patients, and rehabilitating those with disabilities. In 2011, this program will be extended to a second coastal region in Togo and Benin, with the transfer of skills in motor physiotherapy and rehabilitating people with disabilities.

In 2011, 1.5 million of people were beneficiaries of educational activities and 550 people have been treated by the association.