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Quality of life study of Filarial Lymphoedema patients

An epidemiological survey to identify environmental and occupational determinants on lymphatic filariasis patients in 3 districts of Kerala and to study impact of entry point education and yoga.

A project under the Grant of Research Schemes under Ecology and Environment Schemes, Environment Management Agency Kerala (EMAK),Govt. of Kerala (Presently known as Dept. of Environment & Climate Change)

Project Profile

Precise objectives of the project:
  • To identify environmental factors on the prognosis of the disease and to suggest remedial measures
  • To find out the quality of life of patients suffering from lower limb filarial Lymphoedema in 3 districts of Kerala (Kasaragod, Kozhikode, Alapuzha ) and influence of entry point education in health related Quality of Life (QoL).
  • To conduct the prevalence survey of Lymphoedema among school children in Kasaragod district.

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), known as Elephantiasis is prevalent usually in rural areas and it is steadily increasing in urban slum and people living in poor living conditions. Thus it is primarily a neglected disease of the poor. Apart from disability, lymphatic filariasis causes stigma, isolation, psychological stress and family discord among the affected individuals. LF is the second leading cause of disability in the world. Over 120 million have already been affected and over 40 million in them are seriously disabled by this disease.

The study conducted in three steps;
1.Development of quality of life questionnaire for lymphatic filariasis patients.
A disease specific quality of life questionnaire developed which is suitable for the Indian condition and validated (Content validation, Criterion validation, Construct validation) as narrated in the Quality of Life: Assessment, Analysis, and Interpretation.
2.Baseline assessment of patients for environmental and occupational determinants influencing the prognosis of the disease and Assessment of quality of life of patients in different districts.
The high prevalent target area was selected by getting information from the district Medical officer, the filarial control cell, Taluk and district hospital and MC hospital-community medicine department. Then camps were held in selected PHC to educate the patients about the disease, pathogenesis, existing treatments and general health care measures. The Baseline assessment of patients for environmental and occupational determinants influencing the prognosis of the disease will be done after taking written consent. Quality of life questionnaire was administered prior to the entry point education. The patients, to whom patient education is not done, were taken as control group and Quality of Life data is taken by visiting the house of the patients. In both groups, Follow up data was taken after six months of baseline data.
3.Prevalence survey of lymphatic filariasis in school children of Kasaragod district
The school children of the Kasaragod district was surveyed by using internationally validated questionnaire of international lymphoedema framework (ILF), London. The suspected children were undergone signal MF test to identify antibodies of LF.
Relevance vis-a-vis state needs:
National filarial control program NFCP (2002) estimated that 8.40% of total filariasis patients in India are in Kerala, affecting 4.45 million keralites (15% of total Kerala state population). The coastal area of kerala is most endemic for filariasis. Most of the sufferers are from lower middle class family and living in marshy areas.