Assuate Mussa is a family man living in Mozambique. He has a wife and twelve children but, back in the eighties, his prospects of being able to provide and care for a family were unknown.
Mussa was affected by lymphatic filariasis and displayed the symptoms of hydrocele as a result. This is severe swelling of the testes caused by a blocked lymphatic system. Often the swelling can be so severe that it prevents the individual from working and can attract prejudicial attitudes from people who are unsure what the disease is and does.
However, in 1988, Mussa was able to visit the Naburi health centre where he was given medication to treat this form of lymphatic filariasis and this prevented further growth of the hydrocele. However, this did not reduce the swelling Mussa already had and so over the years this was something he had to learn to live with and adapt to.
At the time, he said he wasn't able to go to the farm as often as he used to. “It is too far away, when I walk for too long as soon as I get back home I need to go and sleep. My body is tired and I need to rest.”
Luckily for Mussa, his hydrocele did not prevent him from going on to create a large family with his wife.
“In 1982 I got married to a girl from the village whom I had known for a long time and we’re still together.
I’ve got 12 children - 4 girls and 8 boys! The oldest was born in 1984 and the youngest was born in 2004. You can see that I don’t have a problem with my machinery!” he jokes.
Due to the prejudice attached to the deformities caused by LF, many people affected never find the right partner or sadly, are abandoned by their loved ones when they need the help most - thankfully Mussa’s wife stuck by him.
Through our joint project with NLR we are able to help people like Mussa get the relief they need through hydrocelectomies. This is a surgery that can significantly reduce the swelling of the testes. It means that the individual can go on to resume normal life continuing to work and no longer having to endure any prejudicial attitudes that can come with LF.
Recently, Mussa was able to have the surgery and it has made farming so much easier for him.
"If I had to do a lot of work I was in pain. Now I am able to work again and everything has improved. I am happy that I had the surgery. My life has changed. I am healthy now."
The surgery is a simple solution we can provide to help people like Mussa lead healthy more self-sufficient lives.