Mossy Foot in Ethiopia
Allthough podoconiosis is found in many tropical countries in Africa as well as in a few central American countries, Ethiopia is one of the countries most heavily affected. An estimated 1 million Ethiopians, mostly subsistence farmers, are affected in the highlands.
Podoconiosis has huge social and economic affects on individuals and communities. In 2005, the disease was estimated to cost Wolaitta zone (an area of 1.5 million people) $16 million per year. In areas with irritant soil and subsistence farming, up to 5% of the population may be affected, making it even more common than HIV in these areas.
The map shows areas where podoconiosis has been confirmed in the highlands of Ethiopia. The city of Soddo, within the Wolaitta region and down country from the capital city Addis Ababa, is where Mossy Foot Project is headquartered. The need for treatment of Mossy Foot beyond Soddo is great.
Some facts about Ethiopia (see the CI World Fact Book for more):
- Ethiopia has a population of 94 million people; 44% of these are children under the age of 15.
- There is one doctor for every 40,000 people.
- On the United Nations Human Development index, Ethiopia ranks in the bottom 15 of the poorest countries in the world.
- Less than 40% of the adult population can read and write.
- 85% of people working are involved in agriculture.
All of these factors contribute to the high incidence of mossy foot, and the great need for education and medical care.