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Saturday, 4 June 2016

India yet to eliminate elephantiasis: WHO

World Health Organisation (WHO) said Maldives and Sri Lanka in the South East Asian region have eliminated lymphatic filariasis, a disease that was crippling people for decades, though India is yet to achieve this feat.WHO termed it as a "significant" progress against neglected tropical diseases (NTD) in its South-East Asia Region which also includes India. "The achievement by Maldives and Sri Lanka demonstrates the resolve of these countries and the
Region as a whole to eliminate all neglected tropical diseases, which have no reason to continue and mar the lives of people," said Poonam Khretrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region. Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is believed to have been endemic in Maldives since 12th and 13th century and is traced back to much earlier in Sri Lanka, with the mosquitoes transmitting the bug found in abundance across the two countries. Commonly known as elephantiasis, LF occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. These patients suffer the disease and also suffer mental, social and financial losses contributing to stigma and poverty. "NTD is typically of the 'neglected' population, the poor and the marginalised. By eliminating this NTD as a public health problem, Maldives and Sri Lanka have shown the way for reaching these populations with other health interventions, much needed to improve their overall health," Singh added. India is yet to eliminate the disease. Following Maldives and Sri Lanka's success, LF endemic countries working towards elimination is now reduced to seven in the Region. WHO's South-East Asia Region comprises of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste. 

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