Health Related Quality of Life, an appropriate indicator to assess the impact of morbidity management and disability prevention activities towards elimination of lymphatic filariasis.
BACKGROUND: Lymphatic filariasis has been identified as one of the six diseases that can be potentially eliminated. Global programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis has been launched, applying principal strategies of mass drug administration to interrupt transmission and morbidity management to prevent disability. The strategy for mass drug administration has been clearly laid out and guidelines have been well documented for implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programme but such a guideline is warranted for morbidity management and disability prevention activities.
DISCUSSION: Health Related Quality of Life, a multidimensional construct referring to patients' perceptions of the impact of disease and treatment on their physical, psychological and social function and well being is crucial in the evaluation of health care interventions. Lymphatic filariasis has a wide clinical spectrum and disability is more pronounced in the advanced stages of lymphoedema and hydrocele. Since the advanced stages of lymphoedema are not reversible, morbidity management and disability prevention activities can lessen the disabilities due to secondary infections and there by improve the quality of life of the patient. Thus, an improvement in quality of life is considered to be important as a primary outcome in the determination of therapeutic benefit. Therefore it can be used as an indicator to assess the impact of morbidity management and disability prevention activities in global programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.
SUMMARY: Disease specific Health Related Quality of Life instrument can be used to measure the longitudinal changes in quality of life of patients following the intervention. High responsiveness, clinical relevance to patients and its sensitiveness to detect small changes are the merits of disease specific instrument. Morbidity management and disability prevention activities under filariasis elimination programme aim at improving the quality of life of patients with irreversible manifestations. Therefore there is an urgent need to develop an instrument to assess the health related quality of life, specific for lymphatic filariasis by incorporating all the difficulties and problems caused to patients by the disease in the physical, mental and social domains of health.