Physical, Social, and Cultural Environment Determinants of Filariasis in Tapanuli Tengah, North Sumatera

Lasmarida Br Silalahi, Zulfendri, Surya Utama


Masters Program in Public Health, Universitas Sumatera Utara



Background: Lymphatic filariasis impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma. According to World Health Organization, in 2000 over 120 million people were infected, with about 40 million disfigured and incapacitated by the di­sease. Lymphatic filariasis can be eliminated by stopping the spread of infection through preventive chemotherapy with safe medicine combinations repeated an­n­ually for at least 5 years. More than 6.7 billion treatments have been delivered to stop the spread of infection since 2000. Tapanuli Tengah district ranked third in the incidence of filariasis in North Sumatera. The total number of filariasis cases was 22 cases. This study aimed to examine the physical, social, economic, and cul­tural environment determinants of filariasis in Tapanuli Tengah, North Su­ma­te­ra.

Subjects and Method: This was a qualitative study carried out in Lumut Maju village, Tapanuli Tengah, North Sumatera. A total of 23 informants were selected for this study, consisting of filariasis patients, family members, and personnel from the health and related sectors. The dependent variable was filariasis in­ci­den­ce. The independent variables were physical, social, economic, and cultural en­viron­ments, and the local goverment. The data were collected by in-depth inter­view, direct observation, focus group discussion, and document review. The data were analyzed by thematic analysis.

Results: The incidence of filariasis is determined by the interaction of host-agent-environment conditions favorable for the transsmition of filariasis. The phy­sical environment conditions in Lumut Maju village could be described as fol­lows: (1) Several swamps; (2) Several rivers and bushes (3) Some plantations; (4) High humidity of climate. The social, economic, and cultural environment con­di­tions could be described as follows: (1) Common habit of people to go out at night; (2) Rare use of protective work clothes; (3) Low household income; (4) Lo­cal belief in mystical things. The local government involvement was as follows: (1) Non existence of regent regulation on infectious diseases control and prevention, including filariasis; (2) Uneven distribution of health workers and health fa­ci­li­ties.

Conclusion: The incidence of filariasis in Lumut Maju village, Tapanuli Tengah, North Sumatera, is closely related to the conditions of physical, social, eco­no­mi­cal, and cultural environments, as well as the local goverment policy.

Keywords: filariasis, physical, social, economical, cultural environment, local goverment policy.

Correspondence: Lasmarida Br Silalahi. Masters Program in Public Health, Universitas Sumatera Uta­ra, Medan, North Sumatera. Email: Mobile: 081265636921.


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