A new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that we are making progress toward eliminating lymphatic filariasis, a painful and debilitating neglected tropical disease.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) can cause severe swelling in parts of the body, intermittent fevers, and secondary infections. Patients with the disease can also develop permanent disabilities. This can leave them unable to work and support their families, which can expose them to poverty and stigma.
WHO report shows that in 2022 the number of people at risk of FL had reduced by 15% compared to the previous year (from 342 million in 2021 to 288 million in 2022).
Of the 72 countries that were originally registered as endemic for the disease, 18 have so far managed to eliminate it as a public health problem. This is the result of a concerted global effort that has involved partners at many different levels: from pharmaceutical firms Merck and Co., Inc (known as Merck Sharpe and Dohme, MSD, outside the US and Canada) and GlaxoSmithKline , who have donated millions of doses of medications to combat FL, directly to healthcare workers who have been distributing these medications in their local communities.
I am proud that Sightsavers has played a key role in the fight against LF. We are committed to being part of the global network that will achieve the elimination of the disease as a public health problem by 2030.
Together with our community partners and volunteers, we have supported governments to implement drug treatment campaigns in several African countries. By teaching self-care techniques, we have also helped prevent the development of painful symptoms of the disease in tens of thousands of people. The two statistics below show the work we have supported.