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Lymphedema treatment in India: Kerala institute helps UP man reclaim his life after 49 years of struggle

Haider Ali

After a long battle with lymphedema on his leg due to the neglected tropical disease Lymphatic Filariasis, 56-year-old Haider Ali of Uttar Pradesh is now back to his normal life. Thanks to the integrative treatment developed by Institute of Applied Dermatology (IAD), a not-for-profit institute in Kerala, India, which successfully treated Haider Ali.

For the last 49 years, Haider Ali from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh has been enduring immense physical and emotional distress due to the massive lymph volume on his leg. Though he sought treatment at various hospitals across the country in the last several years, none could provide a lasting solution. His condition seemed inescapable, affecting not just his mobility but also his quality of life.

However, Haider has now returned to his normal life and can walk without the debilitating weight of his swollen limb after undergoing free treatment at Rajkiya Ayurvedic College and Hospital in Varanasi, where IAD and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are running a free treatment for lymphedema patients in association with the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Union Ministry of AYUSH.

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The IAD employs a groundbreaking integrative treatment protocol that combines allopathy, Ayurveda, and yoga for the treatment of difficult-to-treat skin diseases, including various types of lymphedema. This unique blend of modern and traditional therapy is also the first of its kind to gain recognition from the British Journal of Dermatology (BJD), the World Health Organization, the Indian Government, and the Kerala Government for its effectiveness in treating lymphedema without the need for surgery.

IAD founder-director Dr S R Narahari said, “Our integrative treatment protocol not only addresses the symptoms but also promotes overall health and well-being, offering patients a sustainable path to recovery.”

Dr Narahari added, “Apart from anti-fungal treatment using allopathy, the integrative treatment follows an intensive decongestive therapy using specialised massage and lymphatic drainage through yoga. We have also incorporated diet for the patients as part of the treatment. Our holistic methodology, addressing body and mind, improves the quality of life of the patients.”

“I never thought that my life would be back to normal. For all these years, I have been facing discrimination and taunts from people due to my swollen legs. The treatment at IAD has given me a new lease of life. I can wear shoes and pants like normal people. People have stopped glaring at my legs,” Haider Ali was seen saying in a video released by IAD.

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