Clinics in Ethiopia Combat Neglected Disease

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Image: NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Neglected Tropical Diseases at Brighton and Sussex Medical School

When Enatnesh, a farmer, arrived at an IOCC clinic in Ethiopia, she was in terrible pain. Her badly swollen left leg meant she was unable to work. Her family was losing much needed income and she was shunned by members of her community.

Enatnesh had developed podoconiosis (or podo). It’s a noncommunicable disease that worsens over time—a painful swelling of the legs and feet caused by the very soil she tilled on her farm.

Like many rural Ethiopians, Enatnesh didn’t wear shoes. And continual contact of bare feet with certain volcanic soils can cause podoconiosis.

The good news is that podoconiosis is being successfully treated at IOCC-supported clinics throughout Ethiopia. IOCC has also provided shoes and self-care training so that patients can manage the condition on their own. Because this disease is neglected, work like this in Ethiopia has only been possible because of support from many individuals and the ongoing commitment of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc.

After nearly a year of treatment, Enatnesh reports that she’s feeling much better. “Now my podo doesn’t interrupt my work,” she said. “I am wearing shoes, and I can go to church.” Her five children are more secure now, because she can help support them again.

Helping treat this often neglected disease makes a tremendous impact in Ethiopia’s rural areas, enabling hard-working people to make a living again and be productive in their communities.

Your gift today can help ensure IOCC continues to make an impact—in Ethiopia and around the world.

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