Marshall Islands free of lymphatic filariasis


The WHO congratulated the Republic of the Marshall Islands on 30 March 2017 for eliminating lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, as a public health problem. 

Lympathic filariasis is a mosquit-borne disease that damages the lymphatic system, leading to severe disfigurement, pain and disability. Stigma against people affected by the disease can be strong: people can lose their livelihoods, and can suffer psychological impacts such as despression and anxiety. 

“Lymphatic filariasis is a terrible disease, causing untold suffering for those who are affected by it. I sincerely congratulate the Republic of the Marshall Islands for eliminating this disease as a public health threat – this is an enormously important achievement for the health of your people,” said Dr Shin Young-Soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.

Six other countries (Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Niue, the Republic of Korea and Vanuatu) have acheived lymphatic filariasis elimination since the WHO launched the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis in 2000. 

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