Greetings from STEPS NGO
We are thankful to you for your kind support in our work. Your valuable donations have been crucial in helping poor Filariasis patients living in slums of Srikalahasti town in Andhra Pradesh, India.
I will start this report by explaining about Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) Disease. India accounts for over one-third of the world’s burden of Lymphatic Filariasis. An estimated total of 120 million people are infected globally with LF, India alone contributes to about 40% of the global Filariasis disease burden. It is a major public health problem in India. About 500 people are suffering with Filariasis in Srikalahasti town and surrounding places in Andhra Pradesh state, India.
Disease: Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as Elephantiasis (Filaria) is almost entirely a disease of poor community. The slum dwellers with inadequate housing and no basic sanitation are at highest risk of infection. Rural-urban migration and uncontrolled urbanization resulting in crowded living conditions and inadequate water and sanitation facilities favour the spread of infection. Indirect economic losses result from social/physical confinement of people with large hydroceles and advanced elephantiasis.
Cause and Transmission: Lymphatic Filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by thin, thread-like filarial worms transmitted to humans by the bite of mosquitoes. The adult worms lie deep in the lymph vessels of the scrotum, groin, armpit and around the breasts where they may live for 4-6 years. These worms grow and mature in the lymph vessels and produce millions of baby worms called microfilaria (mf) develop into infective larvae in 7 - 21 days. Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. When a mosquito with infective stage larvae bites a person, the parasites are deposited on the person's skin from where they enter the body. The larvae then migrate to the lymphatic vessels where they develop into adult worms forming 'nests' in the human lymphatic system. Infection is usually acquired in childhood, but the painful and profoundly disfiguring visible manifestations of the disease occur later in life cause temporary disability and leads to permanent disability.
Symptoms: When lymphatic Filariasis develops into chronic conditions, it leads to lymphoedema (tissue swelling) or elephantiasis (skin/tissue thickening) of limbs and hydrocele (fluid accumulation). Involvement of breasts and genital organs is common. Such body deformities lead to social stigma, as well as financial hardship from loss of income and increased medical expenses.
Treatment and Impact
Recognizing the physical suffering, gross disfigurement and consequent socioeconomic impact due to LF, efforts are being taken to teach patients and their families about skin care and simple measures of hygiene. 20 patients who are poor were identified in the slums of Srikalahasti municipality and providing treatment every month.
At present 3 Health Workers and 1 medical Officer are involved in providing treatment and awareness services to LF patients. We have developed Individual Recording Form and Individual Follow-up Form. In Individual Recording Form the LF sufferer’s name, sex, age, address and Health Worker’s name will be recorded. In this form the Health Worker will record the body part which is attacked with Filariasis and intensity of the disease. In Individual Follow-up Form each LF sufferer will be followed up monthly to find out any acute attack have occurred and how many have occurred in a month, there have been any wounds, skin damage or swelling, there have been an improvement in condition.
STEPS NGO conducted medical camps for Filariasis patients on 25-4-12, 25-5-12 and 27-6-12. During these camps medicines were distributed to 20 Filariasis patients and their health checkups conducted by Dr.P.Prameelamma. All these patients are taking medicines and doing exercises regularly. The Health Workers are visiting the houses of patients once in 15 days and monitoring their health status.
Thanking you for your support.
With kind regards,
Dr Pedamalli Prameelamma
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