A survey of treatment practices and burden of lymphoedema in Togo

Stephanie A. Richard, Els Mathieu*, David G. Addiss, Yao K. Sodahlon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Lymphatic filariasis, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, can lead to lymphoedema and elephantiasis. This study describes the results of a baseline survey of a lymphoedema morbidity management programme in Togo. A convenience sample of 188 people with lymphoedema was asked about symptoms, treatment preferences and quality of life. Those with higher stage lymphoedema were more likely to have experienced an acute attack (odds ratio = 1.9; P = 0.002). Although only 28.2% of those surveyed reported currently using any lymphoedema treatment, 80.3% had used treatments in the past, primarily traditional products (68.1%) and scarification (38.8%). Medication was the preferred treatment for acute attacks, both currently (73.1%) and in the past (61.7%). Patients reported difficulties performing activities such as walking to the field (44%) and carrying a heavy load (63%) as a result of their lymphoedema. Patients felt avoided by their family (17%) and their community (36%). Using the Duke Anxiety-Depression scale, over 70% of patients were found to be at high risk of depression and this risk increased with lymphoedema stage (P = 0.04). The survey results demonstrate the need for a morbidity management programme that will increase the use of morbidity management techniques and decrease the physical and emotional burden of this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Disease management
  • Duke Anxiety-Depression scale
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • Lymphoedema
  • Morbidity
  • Togo


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