Lymphatic Filariasis

Situational Analysis of LF

Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease. Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes and second leading cause of permanent and long term disability. India accounts for 42% of the global burden of lymphatic filariasis. in  India, 99.4%  of infections are caused by Wuchereria bancrofti and rest  by Brugia malayi.  The transmission of Lymphatic filariasis occurs through mosquitoes namely   Culex quinquefasciatus. The objectives of the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis Programme are 1)Progressively  reducing  and  ultimately  interrupting the  transmission  of  Lymphatic Filariasis and 2) Preventing  and  reducing  disability  amongst  affected  persons  through  disability alleviation and morbidity management

LEPRA Society, with its experience in deformity management in leprosy, initiated similar interventions to address disability care issues identified in project areas, among persons affected by lymphatic filariasis.  In Puri and Ganjam districts of Odisha, LEPRA Society initiated interventions in the year 2006. SANKALP, the ongoing flagship programme being implemented in Odisha and AP (partly funded by Hinduja Foundation), MP (funded by effect: hope) and Restoring the Lives of Forgotten People in Bihar (RLFP-funded by Big Lottery Fund (BLF)), focuses mainly on combined approaches to tackle leprosy and lymphatic filariasis.  The concentration is on mapping to ascertain disease burden in the operational areas; strengthening Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP) activities; facilitating these services at government health facilities; capacity building of government and private health service providers; supporting government in implementing Mass Drug Administration (MDA), special case detection campaigns, home and community-based care, Integrated Prevention of Disability (IPoD) camps, provision of footwear, treatment and referral services, self-support groups, integrating WASH components with focus on sanitation and hygiene for people with leprosy and lymphatic filariasis and linking affected people to social and economic entitlements.

A collaborative research project (2010-12) on Lymphatic Filariasis titled, “Molecular epidemiology and host susceptibility of morbidity and co-morbidity of Bancroftian Filariasis in endemic areas”, was initiated in partnership with Freie University, Berlin.

Under the Agreement for Performance of Work (APW), WHO-SEARO (World Health Organization-South-East Asia Regional Office), LEPRA Society developed a strategy document on MMDP in lymphatic filariasis. LEPRA signed a MoU with NVBDCP, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for escalating the initiatives and statewide implementation of combined approaches for LF and leprosy in Bihar.