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Quantifying the physical and socio-economic burden of filarial lymphoedema in Chikwawa District, Malawi

Martindale, Sarah, Mkwanda, S. Z., Smith, Emma, Molyneux, David ORCID:, Stanton, Michelle ORCID: and Kelly-Hope, Louise ORCID: (2014) 'Quantifying the physical and socio-economic burden of filarial lymphoedema in Chikwawa District, Malawi'. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Vol 108, Issue 12, pp. 759-767.

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Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a disfiguring parasitic disease and one of the leading causes of disability in the world. This study aimed to assess the severity of lymphoedema, the physical restrictions and socio-economic impact on affected individuals living in an endemic community in Malawi.

In a single health centre catchment area, a follow-up survey was conducted to assess 69 lymphoedema cases, and the impact of their condition in eight different areas of their lives. Differences were examined by sex, age and severity of disease. The overall level of disability was quantified and the impact of acute dermatolymphangioadenitis (ADLA) attacks was examined.

Lymphoedema cases were most affected by pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression, which also had an economic impact. Male and older (>60 years) individuals reported more problems. Higher disability levels based on a quantified score were significantly associated with decreased walking distance and working hours. ADLA significantly increased pain/discomfort and reduced cognition, and also affected the individuals' self-care, social participation and ability to work.

Filarial lymphoedema causes significant hardship, particularly in relation to ADLAs, and the scale of the problem needs to be better defined with new specific tools so that the best support and care can be provided to those in greatest need.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
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: Lynn Roberts-Maloney
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2015 16:21
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2019 10:55


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