Prevention and Treatment


In Ethiopia, the Mossy Foot Project strives to educate the population about podoconiosis: what it is and how to treat and prevent it. Along with this we aim to help remove the social stigma associated with the disease so as to be more effective in exposing and treating it. Many of those involved in the education process are present or former patients, who are in an exceptional position to carry the message effectively.

The most obvious strategy for the eradication of podoconiosis is simply preventing the malady by:

  • Wearing shoes and socks to prevent the occurrence of the disease in those not yet afflicted
  • Wearing shoes and socks to stop the progression of the disease among those already afflicted
  • Educating young children and their parents in prevention strategies
  • Utilizing former patients to spread the word as well as assist in treatment

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The Mossy Foot Project has 16 clinics in the Wolaitta zone. Each clinic treats over 200 patients per month.

Washing feet with bleach solution

Washing feet with bleach solution

At a patient’s first visit, their feet and legs are thoroughly washed, then soaked in a diluted bleach solution. This is followed by applying an antifungal ointment to their legs and feet. Patients are also given lymphatic massage to reduce swelling and they are taught how to massage their legs and feet at home.

Wrapping legs with elastic bandages

Wrapping legs with elastic bandages

Health care workers at the clinics wrap the patients’ legs with elastic bandages to apply compression. The patients remove the bandages at night and elevate their feet, then rewrap the bandages the next day.

Shoes for Patients

Shoes for Mossy Foot Patients

Mossy Foot Project provides special oversized shoes for the patients to wear so that they are able to keep their feet clean until the feet return to a normal size. These shoes are made by former mossy foot patients, providing them useful employment. You can read about the detailed steps for making shoes here.

Precise measurements are taken of the patients’ legs at each visit to monitor progress in their treatment.

Despite the condition of their legs and feet, patients will often walk miles to receive their treatment from a Mossy Foot clinic.


Gadana when he first arrived at the clinic

Gadana After 1 Week

Gadana’s leg after only 1 week of treatment

These two pictures of Gadana Gata, a young man who was treated at the Mossy Foot clinic, show how after just a week of treatment, the swelling of his leg has decreased dramatically. This young man, who dropped out of school in fifth grade because of his condition, was greatly encouraged to continue faithfully with the treatment steps.




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