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Tonga eliminates lymphatic filariasis as a public problem

Radio & Television Tonga News 1/08/2017



The World Health Organization has congratulated Tonga for its efforts to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.


A WHO statement says the kingdom may be small in population, but it is kicking big goals in public health.


The organization has validated that Tonga has eliminated Lymphatic filariasis also known as Elephantiasis.


Lymphatic filariasis is a mosquito-borne disease that damages the lymphatic system, leading to severe disfigurement, pain and disability.


The people affected by this disease, the impacts of disfigurement and the associated stigma are profound, people often lose their livelihoods, and suffer from psychological impacts such as depression and anxiety.


WHO Director for Pacific Technical Support Division and Country Representative in Fiji, Dr Corinne Capuano said Tonga may or may not be completely free of the infection this time.


However, we need to remain vigilant and continue post elimination surveillance for potential emergencies or reintroduction of the disease over the next five to 10-years.


Tonga has been one of the worst affected in 1976, a study referred to by Capuano revealed 45-percent of Tonga’s population had the infection.


Tonga is the 7th country in the Western Pacific to achieve WHO validation on the elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem.



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