Zambia: A Narrative Review of Success and Challenges in Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination
The establishment of the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) to stop the transmission of infection has significantly reduced the incidence of lymphatic filariasis, a debilitating mosquito-borne neglected tropical disease. The primary strategies that have been employed include mass drug administration (MDA) of anthelminthics and morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP). While some countries have been able to reach elimination status in Africa, there is still active transmission of LF in Zambia. The nematode responsible for the disease is Wuchereria bancrofti, which is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. To alleviate the suffering of those infected by the disease, the Zambian Ministry of Health launched a program to eliminate LF as a public health problem in 2003. This project reviewed the efforts to achieve the elimination of LF in Zambia, past and present government policies, and the anticipated challenges. MDAs have been conducted since 2014 and coverage has been between 87% and 92%. Zambia has now moved towards pre-transmission assessment surveys (PRETAS) and transmission assessment surveys (TAS). MMDP is a major priority and planned to be conducted between 2022 and 2026. COVID-19 presented a new challenge in the control of LF, while climate change, immigration, co-infections, and funding limitations will complicate further progress.