Skin diseases in pediatric patients attending a tertiary dermatology hospital in Northern Tanzania: a cross-sectional study

Samson K. Kiprono12*, Julia W. Muchunu1 and John E. Masenga1
Publication year: 


Skin diseases affect 21–87 % of children in developing countries in Africa. However, the spectrum of the skin diseases varies from region to region due to several factors such as genetics, socioeconomic and environmental. The aim of this study was to determine the spectrum of childhood skin diseases in Tanzania.


We conducted a prospective hospital- based cross-sectional study between September 2012 and August 2013 at a tertiary referral dermatology clinic. Children younger than 14 years presenting with new skin conditions were recruited. Diagnosis was mainly done clinically, but if the diagnosis was not clinically clear, further investigations were undertaken accordingly.


A total of 340 patients were recruited of which 56 (16.5 %) had more than one skin condition. Both genders were equally affected. Infections and infestations accounted for the majority (43.5 %, n = 177) of the skin conditions followed by eczematous dermatitis (28.5 %, n = 116) and pigmentary disorders (7.4 %, n = 30). Among the 152 infectious skin diseases, fungal infections predominated (50.7 %, n = 77) in the infectious group followed by bacterial (29.6 %, n = 45), and viral (19.7 %, n = 30).


Skin infections are still the main cause of dermatological consultations in children although with a reduced prevalence. Inflammatory skin conditions are increasing and can be attributed to improved socioeconomic status and HIV pandemic.