Neglected no more - because I matter.

Lymphatic Filariasis: Years of extreme pain

Lymphatic Filariasis is more commonly known as “Elephantiasis”. The disease is named as such because people affected by LF have legs that are so swollen that they mimic those of elephants. People are often infected as kids when an infected mosquito bites them. At first they don’t experience any symptoms, but then the parasites grow into adult worms inside their bodies in their lymphatic systems, causing significant damage.

As the disease worsens, their limbs swell painfully. They find it difficult to even move between their bedroom and the kitchen. The rest of their body is also impacted as it can swell and become deformed. People face severe stigma from their communities and they are often shunned, even by their loved ones.

People with LF will often lose their jobs because they cannot endure the physical pain they feel while working, and also because of stigma surrounding the disease. They can’t put food on the table or pay their hefty medical bills as a result. And due to the intense stigma they face due to their disease, they do not receive any support from their community.

Thankfully, LF is completely treatable with medicine. Doses can also be given to a large group pre-emptively to prevent the spread of transmission. The disease can also be managed with a thorough care package, involving proper cleaning, skin care, exercise, and and elevation of limbs. Surgery is also used to alleviate swelling.

Our supporters make a difference in these people’s lives. effect:hope works in endemic regions in India to provide treatment and care for people affected by LF. In these regions, leprosy is also a problem and we work to fight the effects of both diseases at once. With your generosity, we are able to train health care workers to quickly diagnose these two diseases, provide treatment, and also raise awareness in communities about leprosy and LF.

Elephantiasis may be just an interesting name to some, but the disease is a horrible reality for many.