Ondo residents receive free elephantiasis surgery

12th April 2023

lymphatic filariasis

By Peter Dada

A non-governmental organisation, under the auspices of Mission to Save The Helpless, said it had executed over 1,400 mass hydrocelectomy for hydrocele cases arising from lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis in six states across the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Dr Francisca Olamiji, stated this at the flag-off of the second phase of hydrocelectomy and management of lymphoedema at the Specialist Hospital, Okitipupa, the headquarters of Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State.

According to her, no fewer than 100 persons had benefited from the free surgery and management of the disease in the Ondo Central Senatorial District, noting that though 50 persons were initially estimated to benefit from the gesture, the NGO were able to accommodate 100 patientsOlamiju also pointed out that the state was endemic to lymphatic filariasis and elephantiasis, hence the need for the intervention so that people could have a good life.

She said, “MITOSATH was committed to improving the quality of life of the poor and rural indigent people through advocacy, raising awareness, resource mobilisation and energising the collective will of all stakeholders for the control and elimination of NTDs.

“The common NTDs in the state are Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic filariasis, Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Trachoma. ”

In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Banji Ajaka, described lymphatic filariasis, as a neglected tropical disease which usually occurred when filarial parasites were transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.Ajaka added that the infection was usually acquired in childhood causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system.

“The painful and profoundly disfiguring visible manifestations of the disease, lymphoedema, elephantiasis and scrotal swelling occur later in life and can lead to permanent disability.

“These patients are not only physically disabled but suffer mental, social and financial losses contributing to stigma and poverty,” he explained.

The commissioner also quoted the World Health Organization, saying over 36 million people across the world have hydrocele and lymphoedema arising from lymphatic filariasis.

“Nigeria contributed significantly to this global burden. In Ondo State, 17 local government areas are endemic for this disease, ” he disclosed.

He commended MITOSATH for regularly providing the needed financial support for NTDS elimination activities in the state, saying that the partnership had yielded tremendous achievements in eliminating the disease in the state.


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