- Persons having constant itching on their legs are advised to report health centers for early response
- Elephantiasis remains a silent disease that is ruining lives of the infected persons in Moyo district
- WHO says since 2000, more than 160 million treatments have been delivered in the African Region alone.
- A survey conducted in 2011 in Moyo District in Aliba and Dufile Sub counties indicates that 654 people were also examined and five people were got to have elephantiasis disease
By Metedio Iceta
Moyo- What started as an itching on the leg of a 56 year-old Richard Madraru, a resident of Iboa village in Itula Sub-County, has now ruined his life after he was abandoned by his wife for living with Elephantiasis.
Madradru, a father of three children, tried seeking for medical treatment in vain. who is suffering from the disease, said his wife separated with him because she found it difficult to stay with him. He has a swollen foot that also make it difficult for him to wear trousers. His feet have been deformed.
Speaking to West Nile Press Online on Friday, Madraru said: “My wife left me because she feels shame to be with a man with this huge swollen foot. When I developed the illness about eleven years ago, the health workers couldn’t find anything and since then I have never received any treatment despite my endeavors to get it from Iboa health center has failed,” Madraru said.
He said he has on several occasions visited Iboa and Palorinya Health Centre III but he is always referred to Arua referral hospital for screening and treatment as the facility does not have the drugs in stock.
Madraru now lives a lonely life since his wife abandoned him because of the disease. “It is like I am waiting to die with the disease. My village-mates started saying that may be it is witchcraft and some of them nickanamed me and this haunts me a lot that is why I always opt to stay at home,” Madraru said.
He is only helped by his elder son who does all the home chores. Life becomes more hard when the son goes back to school, so he remains alone. Madraru finds difficulty in walking especially long distance. The worm is spread by mosquitoes, which pass it on when they take blood from humans. These worms lodge in the lymphatic system, producing millions of minute larvae that spread throughout the bloodstream, triggering an imbalance of the lymphatic system, which controls the fluid balance between tissues and blood in the body.
The Moyo district vector control officer and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) focal person Michael Nyaraga, said they have embarked on mass drug administration programme aimed at curbing the Lymphatic Filariasis disease commonly known as elephantiasis.
“A study conducted by Research Triangle International (RTI) in 2006 in Dufile Sub county indicates that 522 people were examined during mid-night and 13 people were found with the disease then ministry of health together with Research Triangle International (RTI) intervened by giving mass drug administration to the entire people of Moyo district,” he said.
Nyaraga said the district is left with on treatment of Albendazole under immunization programme then children between 5-14 years in schools are threated under the programme conducted by the ministry of health.
Josephine Achiro, a senior field Epidemiologist with Research Triangle International (RTI) said people experiencing constant itching on their legs should report immediately to health centers for check-up.
“The constant itching will develop a wound which can be attached by bacteria and in such a case the wound will not heal. The person will stay with the would chronically or fungal infections can attack that affected part of the body and you will see noddle or thickened skin covering that particular part of the leg,” Ms Achiro said.
According to World Health Organisation, in 2007, about 546 million people around the world were treated to prevent transmission of lymphatic filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis.
The WHO says Elephantiasis is caused by infection with the filarial worm called Wuchereria brancofti and Brugia malayi which is transmitted to humans by the culex Mosquito and lives in the human lymphatic system. The disease is typically characterized by the thickened skin and grossly enlarged limbs that earns the illness its name.