OBJECTIVE To assess the impact of the three self-care Groups on ulcer prevalence and readmission rates in Okegbala hospital. DESIGN A retrospective, descriptive study. The evaluation combined four data collection methods namely (i) records survey, (ii) semi-structured interviews of individual members of self-care groups, (iii) group discussions and (iv) key informant interviews. RESULTS Record surveys show that the ulcer prevalence has decreased by almost 75% since the adoption of the self-care group; admissions to hospital for ulcer care have reduced, and the mean interval between admissions has increased by 7 months. Semi structured interviews and group discussions show that all members have a greater sense of control of their ulcers and general health; and that self-care groups have a potential of catalysing community solidarity and development. CONCLUSIONS This small study shows that self-care groups are valuable for reducing ulcers and giving members a greater sense of control of their ulcers and general health resulting in fewer hospital admissions. We recommend a multi-centre, controlled, prospective study incorporating different settings (e.g. urban, rural, near hospitals, within field leprosy programmes) to test these findings. Such a study has the potential of influencing policy and health-service reorientation of ulcer care in future.