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Lymphoedema in the Philippines and one dedicated Physio


Adrian Lim

I first met Adrian Lim in the arrival hall at Manila Airport where he stood a head taller than anyone else in the crowd. This energetic young Physio had convinced the post-graduate training company he worked for to sponsor an MLD training, and achieved the almost impossible task of getting the DVDs into the country. Physios from across the Philippines were gathered for the 5-day Basic Course and Adrian attended the training, hosted evening practice sessions for the students, and arranged all our lunches.

 

Adrian originally contacted me in 2018 when his beloved grandmother developed arm lymphoedema and he couldn't find any local resources to help her. We decided to try and bring MLD to the Philippines so Adrian convinced his employer to sponsor the training and they also brought in several therapists from remote areas to attend at low cost. Adrian told me these rural physios earned around $50 US per week, but the textbook cost twice that! let alone the other course fees. I still don’t know how they ever made this viable but they did, and I returned again for Therapy 1 in late 2019 to prepare the students for a Level 3 planned in 2020, which of-course didn’t happen.

 

Adrian spent the early days of the pandemic sourcing and distributing PPE.

He is able to continue working as a private Physio and occasionally asks my advice on filariasis-related lymphoedema cases among people who have travelled into the city seeking help.

LF-related lymphoedema in a young Filipina woman
LF-related lymphoedema in a young Filipina woman

Lymphatic Filariasis is endemic throughout most of the southern half of the Philippine archipelago where the Global Program to Eliminate LF is ongoing, and over 1.6 million people need help with managing lymphoedema. Although the national program has reported over 80% coverage of morbidity management and disability services, all this really means is that health workers in endemic regions have been trained in basic hygiene management to reduce secondary infections, and to manage acute attacks. It doesn't mean that the people affected have received this information.

 

Adrian’s grandmother was Buddhist, and although she passed some time ago, Adrian still honours her in his dedication to Buddhist principles, and in his commitment to learning lymphoedema management and bringing that to the people of the Philippines.

Like everywhere in the world there is a huge unmet demand for chronic oedema management, and the therapists in the 2019 courses were so eager to gain new skills and offer better options for their clients. I hope that Adrian will be able to bring the training back to Manila for them in the not too distant future.

 

In the meantime Moving Lymph and Lymph Works have joined with the LKN Foundation to provide Adrian with a fee free place in the Level 3 Course in Perth next January.


You can help us to train more health professionals in LF and podoconiosis endemic countries by making a donation to the LKN Foundation.

Although he is only one dedicated Physio, I know Adrian is destined to make a big difference for many Filipino people, both in the city and rural areas.

 

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