Program to Control Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti

Partnership objectives

  1. Eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) from Haiti through a combined neglected diseases and nutrition program.
  2. Decrease iodine deficiency among children in Haiti.
  3. Increase the number of health workers delivering mass drug administration (MDA) and achieve national coverage.


Lymphatic filariasis is a debilitating illness that affects up to 60% of the population in some areas of Haiti. Lymphatic filariasis is a debilitating illness that affects up to 60% of the population in some areas of Haiti. Copyright IFPMA

What are the health needs and challenges?

Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a debilitating illness that affected up to 60% of the population in some areas of Haiti. Primary treatment and prevention strategies to combat this disease involved annual mass drug administration (MDA). Co-fortified salt helps reduce LF transmission but approximately 58% of children suffered from iodine deficiency in Haiti and no national salt iodization program existed.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

With University of Notre Dame, the partnership supported both the elimination of lymphatic filariasis in Haiti and the elimination of iodine deficiency by:

  • Decreasing levels of iodine deficiency among children by scaling up and launching fortified salt initiative (diethylcarbamezine and iodine) to help reduce LF transmission.
  • Increasing the number of health workers involved in MDA (mass drug administration) and increasing the number of LF patients treated.
  • Enhancing the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of program efficacy to help shape the future strategy for LF elimination in Haiti.   

Summary of impact:

From 2011 to 2014, the AbbVie Foundation provided $2.6 million USD to University of Notre Dame (UND) to address lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Haiti. The grant supported efforts to reduce iodine deficiency among the 58% of Haitian children who are affected through salt/DEC co-fortification programs (which reduces LF transmission). Over the course of this multi-year grant, UND provided treatment to approximately two million people and 8,000 health workers delivered the MDA, the first MDA ever conducted in a capital city. 

In addition, 78% of households in certain regions reported using co-fortified salt, which helps reduce LF transmission, whereas rates at the start of the grant were as low as 25%. More than 900,000 pounds of co-fortified salt were sold to households, businesses, and NGOs. The AbbVie Foundation’s grant also supported research on vector mosquitos to determine the effects of co-fortified salt on LF transmission.

Partnership information

Company(ies) AbbVie

Partner(s) University of Notre Dame

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals

Therapeutic Focus Women and Children's Health, Neglected Tropical Diseases

Disease(s) Children's Health, Lymphatic Filariasis, Malnutrition

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Availability of Treatment - Product Donations, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Mass Drug Administrations (MDA)

Targeted Population(s) Children, Health professionals, People with low income, Youth

Region(s) Latin America & Caribbean

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Haiti

Start Date 2013

More information AbbVie

Completed date 2014