Dr. K. N. Panicker, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Community Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, visited Berlin from February 20 – 23, 2018, to participate in an Advocacy Planning Meeting of Neglected Tropical diseases. He was invited by Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases, UK and the German Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Berlin. The highlight of the event was a breakfast meeting with the Parliamentarians of Germany to impress upon them the global importance of neglected tropical diseases and their mitigation.
Dr. Panicker, who represented India and to a large extent, Asia, made use of this opportunity to raise an important aspect of neglected tropical diseases, the morbidity management and disability prevention of Lymphatic Filariasis. He cited the example of India, where one of the severest LF pocket lies in Kerala, with Cherthala forming the largest endemic region for Brugian Filariasis whose manifestation is grotesque elephantoid legs. The majority of these diseased individuals are advanced in age, and lead a secluded, miserable life coupled with disability and disfigurement.
Dr. Panicker, who is also the Chairman of the Indian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases- an offshoot of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, with the support of Kochouseph Chittilappilly Foundation, highlighted the network’s functions in providing palliative care to hundreds of suffering patients including surgical interventions. He explained this activity in the meeting as a true role model for morbidity management of LF, involving local corporates and philanthropists, which is a strategy often preached, but rarely practiced.