By Bilal Kuchay
A seven-year-old Pakistani girl is suffering from a rare condition which has caused her leg to swell up to three times the normal size.
Tahira Khan from Nasirabad in Pakistan’s Balochistan province suffers from Elephantiasis – a parasitic infection that has painfully caused her right leg to balloon to 10 kilograms.
Because of the enormous weight and size of her leg, Tahira is compelled to live an immobile life.
She cannot stand on her own and needs support from her family members in order to go to the toilet or climbing stairs in the house.
Tahira’s 27-year-old brother Rozi Khan, who works as a primary school teacher, said: “Until two months ago, she could not only walk but run like normal children despite her swollen leg.
“She is completely bedridden for past two months now.
“We are worried about her condition as it is causing her lot of pain. She is not able to walk on her own or even stand on her feet.”
Elephant leg disease, also known as elephantitis, is characterised by abnormal swelling of tissues.
It is most commonly caused by a parasite carried by mosquitoes. The legs and genitals are usually affected, which become thick and saggy.
Tahira was born as the eighth child to parents Bazar Khan, 53, and Toorpaikhi Khan, 49.
Her father, Bazar Khan, said: “Our other children are quite normal but Tahira has had the condition since birth.
“Days after her birth, we found her right leg was bigger than the left one.
“We consulted doctors. They gave some medicines and told that her leg has swollen due to a mosquito bite.
“Since then the size of her leg kept shooting up.”
Khan runs a small grocery shop outside his house and earns a mere £3 a day.
He says over the years they have consulted several doctors but recently they have been told that treatment for such a condition is not available in Balochistan.
Khan said: “It is devastating to see my daughter like this. I cannot see her suffer anymore.
“Doctors in Balochistan have advised us to take her to a bigger hospital in Karachi or Islamabad. But, we do not have enough money or resources to take our daughter for treatment to a bigger hospital.
“We have spent whatever money we had on her treatment. Her mother has sold all her jewellery but her condition has not improved.”
Tahira’s unusual condition has made her live as a recluse.
Her father said: “She spends all her day lying on the bed. She doesn’t go to school and her only friends are her siblings now.”
Tahira’s desperate parents plead for help from the Pakistan government.
“We appeal the government of Pakistan to come forward and help our daughter.
“If the government comes in for help, our daughter can live a normal life.
“I want to see my daughter go to school and play with other kids. I want to see her living a normal life and I am hoping that my wish will be fulfilled one day” his father added.