A 51 one year old Mpulungu woman, who is suffering from elephantiasis of the legs, has called on government to help her find medical treatment.
Christina Namukonda of Mupata village said she started suffering from the disease in the late 1980s and had been unable to engage in meaningful and productive work since then.
Elephantiasis is a disease that is characterized by the thickening of the skin and underlying tissues, especially in the legs and male genital.
It also leads to marked swelling of the lower half of the body.
Ms. Namukonda recounted that she had on three occasions been admitted to Mbala General Hospital but the disease had not been cured.
She said some doctors recommended that her limbs be amputated but she was scared to undergo this kind of operation.
‘’I do not really want to lose my legs. Let them just help me with medicines to relieve this pain because this disease has also grounded me and am unable to earn a living,’’ said Ms. Namunkonda.
She said before she caught the disease, she was a vibrant business lady who was dealing in fish in Mpulungu.
Ms. Namukonda said she currently depends on well-wishers for survival because she is always indoors.
She therefore appealed to government to help her access effective medical attention saying at the moment, she was living in pain and didn’t know what to do.
And a member of the Church of Christ where Ms. Namukonda congregates, Arnold Mumba said the woman needed help because she had suffered for too long.
MR. Mumba said after witnessing her suffering, the members of the church decided to donate money to buy a wheel chair for Ms. Namukonda but this had not helped much.
‘’This woman has been suffering silently for so many years. She needs help to live but the church could only do so much,’’ he said.
Elephantiasis, which is caused by lymphatic filariasis, is one of the most common causes of disability in the world.
It is said to affect over 120 million people worldwide and is most common in Africa and South East Asia with about 40 million people being disfigured or incapacitated by the disease.
In endemic communities, approximately 10 percent of women can be affected with swollen limbs and 50 percent of men can suffer from mutilating genital disease.
The disease occurs in the presence of microscopic, thread like parasitic worms that are transmitted by mosquitoes.