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Ethiopia Addressing Elephantiatis With Help From Mapping Partnership

Noting Ethiopia “recently launched its national master plan (2013-2015) for neglected tropical diseases,” Kebede Deribe, a research training fellow at the Wellcome Trust, writes in The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog about the importance of mapping cases of the “two principal causes of elephantiasis, or lymphedema”: lymphatic filariasis (LF) and podoconiosis. “A new initiative to map LF and podoconiosis in Ethiopia is underway, through a collaboration between several organizations,” he writes, adding, “Supported by the Wellcome Trust, DfID and End Fund, the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (Ehnri) is working with Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, and the Global Atlas of Helminth Infections at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to map 1,384 communities in 692 districts, covering more than 130,000 individuals.” Deribe describes the methods used to track cases and the program’s challenges. The resulting maps, which will be available to decision makers, “will allow the Ethiopian health ministry and partners working on LF and podoconiosis to plan properly and better target their interventions to eliminate the disease,” he concludes (10/28). The newspaper also features a photo gallery related to the mapping work (10/28).