Whilst preventive chemotherapy therapy is an effective way of protecting populations at risk of LF, there are still a great number of people who are infected with the disease and the health impact of this may take many years to appear after initial infection. LF is recognized as one of the most disabling and economically costly NTDs, as infection with the disease can lead to lower productivity and inability to work. It causes chronic pain, severe and irreversible disfigurement and permanent disability - the adult worms live in the human lymphatic system and can cause lymphoedema (swelling) affecting the legs, arms, and breasts. They can also cause hydrocele (severe fluid accumulation) affecting the genitalia of men. Patients also suffer painful attacks and fever caused by the infection.
Worldwide, an estimated 25 million men suffer with genital disease – hydrocele and an estimated 15 million people are afflicted with lymphoedema. Hydrocele can be treated through surgery and lymphoedema can be managed with a basic package of care. This includes hygiene, wound care, elevation of the affected limb(s), exercise and wearing appropriate footwear.
Patient care is at the centre of CNTD’s LF Elimination Programme. We carry out operational research to determine the most cost effective care and treatment strategies for reducing morbidity and disability and ensure that patients, caregivers and families living with the effects of NTD infections are not left behind.
CNTD provides support to train surgeons in hydrocele surgery techniques, carry out hydrocele surgeries and provide after care to patients following surgery. For lymphoedema care, CNTD provides systems for case detection and referral, training of health care workers to care for patients, washkits and training for patients on self care methods as well as support for integrating lymphoedema care into other disability management programmes.