Controlling Buruli Ulcer in Cote d’Ivoire

Partnership objectives

To decrease the burden of Buruli Ulcer in the health districts of Bondoukou and Tanda, Cote d’Ivoire.


The National Program for Buruli Ulcer Control in Côte d’Ivoire reports 28,000 cases in Cote d’Ivoire with an average of 2,000 new cases every year, making Côte d’Ivoire the most endemic country in the world. The National Program for Buruli Ulcer Control in Côte d’Ivoire reports 28,000 cases in Cote d’Ivoire with an average of 2,000 new cases every year, making Côte d’Ivoire the most endemic country in the world. Copyright IFPMA

What are the health needs and challenges?

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) disproportionately impact over 1 billion people—mostly the world’s poor. Many NTDs can be disabling, disfiguring, stigmatizing, and in some cases, lethal.  One such NTD is Buruli Ulcer. Buruli ulcer (BU) is a chronic necrotizing disease of the skin and soft tissue which can cause major disabilities and in some cases death.  Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s most affected country by BU, has more 50% of all cases and ranks 172 out of 188 on the Human Development Index (HDI). 

The mode of BU transmission to humans remains unknown which makes preventing and controlling the disease an especially difficult challenge.  Consequently, the importance of early case detection and treatment to reduce morbidity and associated disabilities is vital. Additionally, limited awareness of the disease, both within the medical community and among the general public, has resulted in under-recognition, under diagnosis and under-reporting. 

MAP International’s (MAP) programmatic approach tackles removing impediments to early case detection, diagnosis and treatment.  MAP has been operating under a long-standing memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Cote d’Ivoire Ministry of Health to support neglected tropical disease and integrated health work throughout the country to strengthen the capacities of health facilities and health personnel for enhanced disease surveillance to combat BU.  

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Since 2010, the AbbVie Foundation (formerly as the Abbott Fund) has supported MAP International’s work to combat NTDs in Côte d’Ivoire.  The partnership focuses on improving health outcomes by:

1) training community and health workers to improve health service delivery;

2) building community disease awareness to improve early detection;

3) accelerating diagnosis and treatment capacity for improved patient outcomes;

4) optimizing patient case management; and,

5) strengthening disease mapping capacity. 

The AbbVie Foundation partnership is designed to focus on clearly defined populations, leveraging MAP’s past progress in Buruli ulcer, and relying on community health workers and established local partners.  In 2016, 240 community health workers were trained and over 23,000 students, teachers and community members were reached with early detection awareness.  Those results were supported by MAP conducting a Buruli Ulcer awareness and detection campaign in 102 primary schools.  Additionally, antibiotics were supplied to 102 health centres in 2 health districts. 

Summary of impact and forward information

  • 100% of patients that completed treatment underwent functional limitation assessment at the end of treatment
  • No new BU patients had limitation of movement at the end of treatment
  • 91% of patients completed antibiotic treatment
  • 100% of Buruli Ulcer program nurses can effectively diagnose and prescribe treatment for Buruli Ulcer cases 

Partnership information

Company(ies) AbbVie

Partner(s) MAP International

Type of Partner(s) NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Neglected Tropical Diseases

Disease(s) Buruli Ulcer

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, Men, Mothers, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Côte d'Ivoire

Start Date 2010

More information AbbVie Foundation

Anticipated completion date Ongoing