11 million Zambians risk contracting   Elephantiasis


By Nation Reporter

ABOUT eleven million Zambians are at risk of contracting the deadly Elephantiasis disease, an ailment that causes extreme swelling in arms and legs if nothing is done by government, Parliament heard yesterday.

Elephantiasis refers to a parasitic infection that causes extreme swelling in the arms and legs.

The disease is caused by the filarial worm, which is transmitted from human to human via the female mosquito when it takes a blood meal.

Delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday, Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said in Zambia about 11 million people were living in districts that were endemic to the disease and were therefore at risk of contracting the disease it if nothing was done.

Dr Chilufya said the prevalence rates from the survey which was done in Zambia in 2013 and 2021 revealed that certain districts had rates as high as 53 percent such as Kalabo district in Western province.

He however told Parliament that government was currently undertaking the second Mass Drug Administration for Elephantiasis.

Dr Chilufya said the exercise started last year in order to achieve the desired results which were to eliminate Elephantiasis.

“My ministry is implementing the campaign again in all the endemic districts from October 10, 2016 to October 31, 2016 with each district implementing for a period of five years days.

“This follows the successful campaign which was done in 2015 in which 10. 8 people million living in the endemic districts received preventive chemotherapy,” Dr Chilufya said.

He said the drugs being distributed were Albendazole and Diethylcarbamzine (DEC) which had shown to be very effective in the control and elimination of the disease.

Dr Chilufya said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the drugs should be administered to all eligible population yearly for a period of five years to achieve elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis commonly known as Elephantiasis.