Neglected Tropical Diseases

We have been fighting actively against the disfiguring disease of filariasis from 2018, through community mobilization, education, and medical referrals. We believe that awareness and information, its prevention, and handling goes a long way in fighting this NTD.

To combat the severe social stigma attached to the disease, community awareness and health education play an extremely important role. Similarly, strengthening the healthcare system in susceptible areas ensure guidance and care to the community.

As per WHO, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries, affecting more than one billion people and costing developing economies billions of dollars every year. These diseases are most prevalent amongst poverty afflicted populations with little access to sanitation and hygiene facilities, making them susceptible to the infectious vectors. The occurrence of NTDs causes further poverty as it impairs normal body functioning, disability, leading to reduced or no economic viability and adding to healthcare costs.

More than 500 million people in India are at risk for one or more of the world’s five most prevalent NTDs: Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), Trachoma, Soil transmitted Helminths (STHs) including Hookworm, Roundworm, and Whipworm.

Lymphatic FILARIASIS (LF) IN INDIA

Lymphatic Filariasis, or Filariasis as known commonly, is an NTD that impairs the lymphatic system causing abnormal enlargement of body parts, leading to severe social, economic and health problems.

The disease is caused by a mosquito-borne parasites Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi, which harbour inside human body and disrupt the lymphatic system, disfiguring the body severely. About 120 million people in Asia, Africa, Pacific islands and parts of South America and the Caribbean are estimated to be affected by the disease.

In India, this disease has been declared an endemic in 17 states and six UTs. Its severity can be gauged from the Government of India’s aim of eliminating it through mass chemotherapy programmes. The campaign has been part of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (2003), under the National Health Policy (2002). Though India missed the target year of 2015, the mission to eliminate the disease is still on.