Mycetoma is a major health problem in Sudan. It is a mutilating, chronic fungal infection. More than 7000 patients are receiving treatment at the Mycetoma Research Centre in Khartoum. Few infections are as mysterious as mycetoma. One thing, however, is certain: it is a horrific disease. Patients endure swelling, sores, and pus-filled lesions. If it spreads, and without treatment it often does, the consequences are devastating. It can prove fatal. Flesh and bones are destroyed, and limbs are deformed.
It affects very poor people in remote communities. A single pill costs around US$6. Patients need four pills a day, usually for 12 months or longer. A typical patient with mycetoma has an annual income of no more than a few hundred dollars. Small wonder that many drop out of treatment.