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“Our goal must be a world in which good health is a pillar of individual well-being, national progress, and international stability and peace. This cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organizations, the business community, and civil society.”

— Kofi A. Annan, ex-Secretary-General of the United Nations

PAHEF at Work » Success Stories 

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) affects more than 3 million people in the Americas and is the second leading cause of disability worldwide .

LF is a disease of poverty, flourishing in squalid sanitary conditions. The disease is caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted by mosquitoes.

Lymphatic 4

Once in the body, the parasites attack the lymphatic system causing enlargement of limbs and genitalia.

This results in:

  • Severe disfigurement and disabilities
  • Psychological impacts related to the trauma of disabilities
  • Secondary infections that cause acute illness in patients

Foundation grants supported the PAHO/WHO regional LF elimination program, part of a worldwide effort to eliminate LF by 2020 .

Project Actions:

  • Structure LF programs in the 7 countries of the hemisphere where LF is endemic
  • Map the spread of LF, identify target populations, and more accurately measure progress in LF elimination
  • Implement massive treatment and prevention programs in Haiti, Guyana and the Dominican Republic including drug treatment, vector control, sanitation measures, and health education.
  • Leverage existing health projects and use innovative strategies to overcome the lack of human resources and health infrastructure in endemic countries.

Significant results:

  • 3 of 7 endemic countries have virtually eliminated LF.
  • 3 other countries are on target to eliminate LF in the next 2-3 years.
  • 2 of 3 targeted communities in Brazil are approaching the goal of elimination.

Through the work and commitment of our partners, the Americas are on target to become the first region in the world to eliminate LF as a public health problem ten years ahead of the worldwide goal of 2020.

Pan American Health Organization/
World Health Organization

US Centers for Disease Control

Emory University

Glaxo Smith Kline


Liverpool School of Medicine

Amaury Coutinho

Before Treatment

Before Treatment

After Treatment

After Treatment