The World Health Organization states that 1.3 billion people in 72 countries worldwide are threatened by Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis. The infection can cause abnormal enlargement of body parts causing pain and severe disability but also social isolation and financial hardship.The YWAM Townsville Introduction to Primary Health Care (IPHC) school is currently in the villages of the Gulf Province of PNG and experiencing great success with the delivery of LF treatment.LF frequently results in swelling in the body for long periods of time. The Filiria Journal states, “While the disease does not result directly in death, it is, after mental illness, the second most common cause of long- term disability globally.”
LF is curable with mass drug administration implemented annually over five years. This is necessary to eliminate transmission of the disease.
The LF treatment also treats intestinal worms. These intestinal worms adversely affect a child’s development because they cause other problems, including malnutrtion and diahrrea. Treating children means a broader positive impact on communities, rather than just adults.
Not only is the IPHC school distributing LF treatment, but they are also keeping busy with basic primary health care needs, educational seminars, and treating other diseases like malaria. Even people from neighbouring villages are hearing and coming to receive treatment and education.