WHO publishes materials that aim to provide high-quality care to people affected by lymphatic filariasis

The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated an aide-mémoire for programme managers to help them provide high-quality care to people suffering from lymphoedema and other consequences of lymphatic filariasis, a debilitating neglected tropical disease (NTD) endemic in 72 countries affecting tens of millions of people.

Lymphatic filariasis – managing morbidity and preventing disability: an aide-mémoire for national programme managers, first published in 2013, has been updated to describe the essential package of care for lymphoedema, hydrocele and episodes of adenolymphangitis.

“This aide mémoire provides the methodology and practical steps to follow to plan, implement and monitor the provision and quality of the essential package of care in coordination with the greater health system,” said Dr Jonathan King, Team Lead, Prevention, Treatment and Care, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “It will also help elimination programmes to establish linkages with programmes for universal health coverage, essential surgery, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and case management of skin NTDs.”

This second edition addresses how to collect information on the numbers of people with lymphoedema and hydrocele; the policies needed to successfully provide sustainable services for these patients; how to build capacity for health system staff in providing high-quality care; how to monitor the care provided; and how to evaluate the quality of care provided.

It serves as a guiding tool for national programme managers in preparing the section on morbidity management and disability prevention of the country’s elimination dossier.

Updated in collaboration with WHO’s Department of Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Lymphatic Filariasis Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention at Government T D Medical College in Alappuzha (Kerala State, India), this toolkit of materials will assist countries in expanding care for people affected by lymphatic filariasis. It is also designed to provide expanded clinical, operational and managerial standard operating procedures to plan and implement disability management, patient inclusion and prevention activities.

The target audience is programme managers, national and subnational NTD public health workers, WHO regional and country office staff, nongovernmental organizations and other implementing partners of countries, and donors supporting such activities.

The second edition includes two web annexes:

Lymphatic filariasis is targeted for elimination as a public health problem.

WHO’s Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis aims to interrupt transmission through a strategy of mass drug administration and to alleviate suffering through the management of morbidity due to the disease.

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