After over a decade of continued efforts, Egypt has succeeded in elimination of lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) as a public health problem. In December 2017 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) congratulated the health minister of Egypt for this historical achievement.
Professor Reda Ramzy, WHO EMRO Regional Programme Review Group Chair, said “This achievement is the culmination of more than a decade of accelerated efforts of the Ministry of Health, partners, and donors supported by WHO. Indeed, Egypt was among the first countries to join WHO global efforts to eliminate LF as a public health problem and in 2000 initiated a national LF elimination programme. The programme had two main objectives: to interrupt LF transmission by delivering single annual dose of two drugs (DEC plus albendazole) to the entire eligible population living in areas where the disease was endemic; and to alleviate the suffering caused by LF through increased morbidity management and disability prevention activities.
Lymphatic filariasis has probably occurred in the Nile region since ancient times, as artifacts suggest that the disease may have been present as early as 2000 BC. Thus, eliminating this disabling disease would certainly ensure that there will be no more new cases in the next generations.”