Ndola Anglican Church aid elephantiasis patient
Published On October 9, 2017 » 4360 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Features
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• Ms Simbeye says medical therapy alone has failed her and some health experts have since proposed that surgery may be necessary.

• Ms Simbeye says medical therapy alone has failed her and some health experts have since proposed that surgery may be necessary.

By MARTIN NYIRENDA –
IDAH Simbeye, a resident of Ndola’s Mushili Township, has lived with a rather lethal human condition in elephantiasis for well over ten years!
Ms Simbeye, aged 63, has gross enlargement of her left leg.
Elephantiasis – also known as lymphatic filariasis – is a human disease caused by parasitic worms, which results in the accumulation of a fluid called lymph in the affected areas.
She said she is forced to travel to Lusaka for medication every month.
“I am given an injection every month from the University Teaching Hospital (UTH)  in  Lusaka. I have been suffering with this condition for about ten years now,” she opens up, with a sense of agony visibly marked in her facial expression.
To her, she stepped on a heap of waste in 1994 and a sharp object pricked her foot.
After  sometime, her left leg gradually started swelling until she was taken to the hospital for medical treatment.
“I was  attended to on two occasions at the then Ndola Central Hospital before I was discharged when the late Mr Levy Mwanawasa was then President of Zambia,” she continues, “It is painful to live with such health condition. I just pray that some people could come to my aid with financial assistance.”
Ms Simbeye opined that she spends K200 for a single injection which is administered on her from UTH.
But her condition was worsening every day that counts in her life. Two of her sons died in 2014. And the awful experience of losing the two breadwinners in the family robbed her of financial support. Her retired husband is a small-scale farmer in Tug Argan area off Kabwe road.
“We are struggling to earn a decent living because my husband is not in any form of employment which attracts regular income. My health condition has also disadvantaged me as I cannot work to earn a living. My only two sons who were supporting us both died in 2014 and life has since changed for worse.
“I have moved from one church to the other asking people to help me financially so that I am able to get medication as advised,” she recoils.
A medical certificate dated June 7, 2017 and issued at Mushili clinic in Ndola shows that she has been diagnosed with a chronical illness on palliative care and that she was using the document to solicit for financial assistance.
Ms Simbeye goes on to intone that a diagnosis of elephantiasis was conducted based on a thorough clinical evaluation, adding that a variety of tests were also carried out to determine the underlying cause of lymphatic damage and subsequent elephantiasis.
Treatment of elephantiasis usually involves treating the underlying condition. lymphatic  f ilariasis is treated with diethylcarbamazine.
Ms Simbeye explains that medical therapy alone has failed her as some health experts propose that surgery may be necessary.
Elephantiasis occurs with the greatest frequency in tropical regions including Africa, Southeast Asia, India and South America as a manifestation of lymphatic filariasis.
Elephantiasis can affect men or women of any age.
And in most cases, the disease has no symptoms with some people, however, developing a syndrome called elephantiasis, which is marked by severe swelling in the arms, legs, or genitals.
In June, 2015, reports show that ten million Zambians were at risk of contracting elephantiasis.
Research augments that in cases where the male genitals have been affected, reconstructive surgery on the penis and scrotum has been successful.
Anti-streptococcal antibiotics are used to relieve secondary infection. Lymphatic tissue may be removed by surgery or radiation therapy.
Ms Simbeye has visited some churches, including the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Ndola where congregants recently extended hands of help towards her upkeep and transport to travel to Lusaka for continued treatment.
Well-wishers with the heart to financially help her can contact Reverend Leonard Tembo of Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Ndola on 0955911248, 0977512548 or 0967512548.
She shares the fact that it was not a walk in the park for one to live with the often debilitating disease – elephantiasis, which has also caused thickened and hardened skin on the affected left area.
Elephantiasis is one of the seven Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) that are currently endemic in Zambia. NTDs cause disability in the people affected – reducing their productivity and this breeds even more poverty levels.
The other NTDs are bilharzia, sleeping sickness and leprosy, among others, and are very regular in rural districts of Zambia. Elephantiasis is transported from one person to the other when a mosquito infected with the filarial parasites bites a person who is not infected.
This infection may take up to 20 years to manifest, and when it does the disability it causes can be irreversible.
The disease affects over 25 million people worldwide. Two years ago, studies further amplified the fact that over 1 billion people were at risk of contracting this disease globally as they lived in endemic zones.
The prevalence rates from the survey which was conducted in the country in 2003 and 2011 revealed that certain districts had rates as high as 53 per cent (Kalabo district in Western Province).
These results provided a chief setting to the elephantiasis elimination programmes in Zambia which started at nationwide range in 2015.
As  Ms Simbeye continues to submit herself to the pain of the toxic health condition, it is only hoped that more people would show love by supporting her in whatever form.
What the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Nativity congregants in Ndola recently managed to demonstrate, through financial and giant moral support to Ms Simbeye, who has gallantly lived with a life-threatening human condition for over ten years, simply endorsed the hard veracity that Zambia is a loving and caring society.
It is now up to you who is reading this piece to show virtues of love through support to improve her plight.

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