Captured in 2015, at the Kebila Health Center, Mali, by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff member, Caitlin Worrell, this image depicted a 47-year-old patient named Mia, who due to lymphatic filariasis (LF), had suffered with lymphedema for 30-years. Her leg showed signs of stage-3 lymphedema with shallow folds and swelling. In this view, Mia was showing us the soap she uses to cleanse her lower extremities, which had been given to her, as a participant in the CDC-sponsored lymphedema management training program. To reduce the suffering of people affected by LF, the CDC has partnered with Mali’s Ministry of Health to support patients who have already developed LF-related disease. See PHIL 22460, to see Mia demonstrate the leg cleansing technique, using this soap and water.
This picture was an entry in the 2016 CDC Connects, Public Health in Action Photo Contest, in the category of People-International.
As the mother of eight children, it is important for Mia’s symptoms to be managed so that she is able to provide for her family. Going through the lymphedema management training has encouraged Mia to take the time to wash her legs every day, making sure to keep them as clean as she is able. As she explained the impact of her new hygiene practices, it was evident that improvements had been significant – since starting training she has fewer infections, and even those that occur are less severe than prior to training. By continuing to wash her legs daily and maintain proper hygiene, Mia no longer needs to feel burdened by severe and debilitating infections, and can focus on caring for her family.