Working Version: September 1999
World Health Organization

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___Lymphatic filariasis (LF) commonly known as elephantiasis, is a painful and profoundly disfiguring disease that has a major social and economic impact in Asia, Africa, the Western Pacific and parts of the Americas. Until recently, little could be done to relieve the suffering and disability caused by this disease.

___Today, however, significant advances have been made in understanding both the disease and its control. A global coalition has been forged among many organizations, each with a different mandate but all having a common goal: to tackle the wide-ranging and complex process of science and practice that will result in the elimination of LF as a public health problem1 from the world.

___A strong start was made in 1997, when the World Health Assembly passed a resolution calling for the elimination of lymphatic filariasls as a pubiic health problem...'. Following this, WH0, with support from organizations including donor countries, the World Bank, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began developing a coalition to eliminate the disease.

___The following year the coalition was given a powerful boost when SmithKline Beecham announced its commitment to form a unique private-sector/public-sector collaboration with WHO to support the gloabal programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. The two organizations pledged to work together closely to undertake this massive international public health effort. Subsequently, Merck & Co., Inc. pledged to expand its ongoing Mectizan(R) Donation Program for onchacerciasis to cover treatment of lymphatic filariasis in all African countries where the two diseases occur together.

___Individually, none of these organizations can eliminate LF: but by working together, and working through the Ministries of Health in the endemic countries, we believe that it can be done. Not all partners will work in each country, but, together, we hope to develop partnerships that will cover all of the affected countries and ensure an extraordinarily positive impact on many millions of lives.

1 Throughout this strategic plan, the word 'elimination' is used to describe the more complete text used in the World Health Assembly resolution.

The Timing:

Global targets:

By the end of 2000:

Regional elimination plans will be agreed.

By the end of 2005:

Pacific islands and certain other countries will be free of LF transmission.

Certification of LF elimination in previously endemic contries will be achieved in the Eastern Mediterranean and American Regions.

By the end of 2010:

Western Pacific and Americas will be free of LF transmission.

By the end of 2015:

Last areas with transmission will be identified.

By the end of 2020:

Global certification will be under verification.

National targets:

___Annex 1 (not shown herein) lists 112 countries where LF is now, or was once believed to have been, endemic. This list is currently under review.

___Each Region will develop an elimination plan (the Western Pacific and the Eastern Mediterranean Regions have already prepared draft plans), and within each of the Regional plans each country will set complementary milestones and targets to achieve certification within the Regional timeframe.

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