World leprosy day 2012

Today marks the 59th anniversary of a day dedicated to raising leprosy awareness and funds to help give those affected the treatment they need. Over 100 countries worldwide use this day to reaffirm their concern for those affected and recommit themselves to doing something to make a difference. Some churches offer a special service to mark the occasion.

World leprosy day is celebrated on the last Sunday in January, near to the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, a man who was renowned for showing great concern for those affected by leprosy.

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LF: Lack of sex, role reversal and social stigma

That’s what sufferers of lymphatic filariasis go through every day.

A recent review looked at all of the research into the experiences of people living with  lymphatic filariasis (LF), or elephantiasis, and analysed the complexities of daily life faced by people living with LF-related disability.

LF is caused by infectious nematode-carrying mosquitoes biting a person, depositing parasites on the skin which get inside the body, grow and spread into part of the immune system called lymph tissue.

WHO defines disability in general as “a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives”, as it is a result of the disease and impairment themselves, but also disruptions caused to lifestyle and standard of living.

120 million people worldwide live with the burden of LF,  40 million of whom live with chronic disabling effects as a result of this parasitic disease, according to WHO.

WHO regards LF as the leading cause of physical disability in the world.

Researchers reporting in the journal PLOS Neglected Diseases reviewed qualitative data from the sufferers themselves and this is what they found.

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