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The wider societal benefits of surgical interventions for lymphatic filariasis morbidity management and disability prevention

Martindale, Sarah, Chiphwanya, John, Matipula, Dorothy Emmie, Ndhlovu, Paul, Betts, Hannah and Kelly-Hope, Louise ORCID: (2021) 'The wider societal benefits of surgical interventions for lymphatic filariasis morbidity management and disability prevention'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 15, Issue 9, e0009701.

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Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is targeted for global elimination as a public health problem by interrupting transmission with mass drug administration and providing an essential package of care to people affected by the debilitating lymphedema and hydrocoele conditions [1]. In recent years, many LF endemic countries have scaled up their morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) programmes with a new focus on universal health coverage, primary healthcare strengthening, and integrated management of skin neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with the aim of fully integrating quality services for LF MMDP into national health systems to ensure sustainability [2].

The positive impact of MMDP interventions for patients has been documented [3–6]; however, no research has been conducted on the wider societal benefits, including the impact on the people who care for patients, i.e., caregivers. Ton and colleagues [7] calculated that the burden of depressive illness in LF patient caregivers was 229,537 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Other studies have documented a negative socioeconomic impact on the caregivers of people affected by filarial and nonfilarial leg lymphedema and those who experience painful secondary bacterial infections, acute adenolymphangitis [8–10].

Hydrocoele is the most common LF clinical manifestation, which affects approximately 19 million men worldwide and can be cured by surgery [11]. In Malawi, recent large-scale patient mapping and modelling estimate that at least 14,000 men have hydrocoele across the country. In 2015, surgical campaigns were initiated to address the burden, together with a study to highlight the significant positive impact of surgery on men in highly endemic areas [4].

We advocate that the positive impact of this surgical intervention can extend beyond the patient to include their caregivers, who are likely to be family members (predominately female) and have their own time, work, and quality of life affected.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 108 Preventive health services. Preventive medicine. Travel Medicine.
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WA Public Health > Statistics. Surveys > WA 900 Public health statistics
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 695 Parasitic diseases (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 880 Filariasis and related conditions (General)
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Cathy Waldron
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2021 15:35
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 15:35


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