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Dynamic Approaches to a Stigmatizing Disease: Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti

45mn

In partnership with The Carter Center.

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is a debilitating parasitic disease transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes. The painful and profoundly disfiguring symptoms of LF—including elephantiasis, a conspicuous swelling of the feet and legs and hydrocele, swelling of the male scrotum—result from parasite-induced damage to the lymphatic system. Patients are not only physically disabled, but suffer mental, social and financial losses contributing to stigma and poverty. The Carter Center assists the Ministries of Health in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to eliminate LF from their shared island of Hispaniola, which accounts for 90% of the LF burden in the Western hemisphere. This session will highlight progress and innovation in the two main strategies recommended by the World Health Organization for LF elimination. The mass drug administration (MDA) necessary to arrest parasite transmission requires compliance of patients and flexibility on the part of health workers. The Carter Center is working with two start-up companies—Crosscut and Balcony—to improve the planning and implantation of annual MDA campaigns. Simultaneously, The Center is working to expand the availability of clinical services to manage the chronic manifestations and prevent disability related to LF. For decades, only one facility in Haiti provided such care. The Carter Center, with funding from Qatar WISH Foundation, is leading health worker training to increase the number of facilities able to provide LF morbidity services throughout Haiti.