Millions of Kenyans at risk of elephantiasis disease

Campaign launched to treat patients with disease that affects poor communities where sanitation levels are low.

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    Transmitted through mosquitoes, more than three million people in Kenya are at risk of a disease that some believe is the result of witchcraft.

    Elephantiasis affects mostly poor communities where sanitation levels are low and mosquito breeding is rampant.

    After an initial inadequate response, the government has now launched a huge campaign to tackle neglected tropical diseases in coastal areas.

    "I used to be a fisherman but I can no longer do that. To earn a living I have to do menial labour and it's very difficult," Katoi Kaviha told Al Jazeera in Marikibuni village.

    The disease has enlarged Kaviha's feet to such an extent that he is now unable to walk.

    Sultani Matendechero, a doctor with the Neglected Tropical Diseases Unit, said: "Some of them associate their condition with witchcraft, they associate their conditions with lifestyle. Mostly, these are the wrong associations."

    He added that many victims were also unaware that there are remedies for the disease.

    Medicine is being properly distributed for the first time this year under a multimillion-dollar campaign.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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