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The economic benefit of hydrocele surgery outweighs the cost by 15 times

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 12 September 2022— Today, icddr,b has organised a dissemination seminar to share findings of a recently concluded project titled "Ensuring Health Equity and Economic Participation for Chronic Lymphatic Filariasis Patients through Surgical Intervention in Bangladesh." It was held at icddr,b's Traction Meeting Room in Mohakhali.

Filariasis is a parasitic disease transmitted to humans through culex mosquito bites. Swelling of the affected limb followed by fever episodes is the disease's main symptom, which in the long run may cause the person various degrees of disabilities. Filariasis is also manifested by extensive scrotal swelling, known as hydrocele. In 10 northern endemic districts of Bangladesh, about 25 thousand suspected cases of hydrocele patients live. They feel ashamed of seeking healthcare due to social stigma. Additionally, many of these patients cannot afford the cost of hydrocele surgery, leading them to remain excluded from mainstream socio-economic activities.

Since 2022, with support from Bangladesh Bank, icddr,b has provided surgical support with the help of local Government hospitals to 203 patients with hydrocele. Of these, 145 are from Rangpur, and 58 are from Kurigram Districts. Previously with support fromthe Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK, from 2020 to 2021, icddr,b helped 838 hydrocele patients return to normal life with hydrocele surgery.

icddr,b researchers also conducted an outcome evaluation that showed that surgery had a significant impact on these patients' social and economic participation. The surgical intervention is highly cost-effective (1:15), meaning the economic benefit of the surgery outweighs the cost of surgery by 15 times. Moreover, these patients are now capable of working for more hours than before, averting their Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs).

Professor Dr Md. Nazmul Islam, Line Director, Communicable Disease Programme, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), attended the seminar as the Chief Guest. Chowdhury Liakat Ali, Additional Director, Sustainable Finance Department, Bangladesh Bank (BB); Ragib Ibnul Asif, Deputy Director, Sustainable Finance Department (BB); Dr Sabera Sultana, National Professional Officer, WHO-Bangladesh, were also present. Dr Shams El Arifeen, Acting Executive Director, icddr,b chaired the event.

Dr M M Aktaruzzaman, Assistant Director and Programme Manager, Filariasis Elimination, STH Control, Little Doctor & National Kala-Azar Elimination Program, CDC, DGHS, gave the Key Note Speech.

Prof. Dr Md. Nazmul Islam in his remark, appreciated the initiative of supporting these people to return to normal life and said, “People suffering from hydrocele and other neglected tropical diseases face a lot of social stigma which impact their lives greatly. Through this initative icddr,b and Bangladesh Bank are helping those most at need.” 

Chowdhury Liakat Ali on behalf of Bangladesh Bank expressed their intention to continue supporting people affected by hydrocele and said“This is a great initiative. Bangladesh Bank as a part of its Corporate Social Reponsibility, is proud to support patients needing hydrocele surgery, and will continue on supporting this type of work in the future.”

Dr Arifeen thanked Bangladesh Bank for understanding the importance of hydrocele surgery, returning these patients to a normal life, and supporting the project accordingly. 

Dr Dinesh Mondal, Acting Senior Director, Laboratory Science and Service Division (LSSD) at icddr,b concluded the event and thanked the participants.  

The project was led by Dr Shomik Maruf, Research Investigator, Nutrition and Clinical Services Division at icddr,b and supervised by Dr Dinesh Mondal, Acting Senior Director, LSSD at icddr,b.

Representatives from DGHS, Bangladesh Bank, media and icddr,b were also present at the seminar.

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