As Guyana gears towards eliminating Filaria by 2020, the Government on Thursday launched a triple-drug therapy initiative.
The Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Campaign was officially launched at the Stabroek Market Square in Georgetown. This year the campaign is been executed under the theme – “We share because we care.”
The triple-drug therapy initiative will shorten the number of years required to take filarial pills.
This initiative refers to the use of three anti-filarial drugs and when taken, the drugs will kill or permanently sterilize adult intestinal worms.
Additionally, the drugs will tackle scabies and hair lice. Before the drugs are administered persons will be measured and given the drugs according to their height.
It was also noted that pregnant women, persons who are 90cm and 15kg bodyweight, will not be given the drugs.
Lymphatic filariasis is a vector-borne disease caused by parasitic worms spread by mosquitoes.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence delivered the feature address at the launch and noted that Guyana has made tremendous progress in the fight against lymphatic filariasis.
“All that we are doing is to be able to put our people in a more secure environment and at the same time adhering to our commitment to WHO strategy that of stopping the spread of infection and alleviating the suffering caused by lymphatic filariasis,” the Minister said.
The Minister said Regions 8 and 9 are not significantly affected by the disease, so the focus of the triple-drug therapy will be on the remaining eight regions.
“This is a continuation of the Ministry of Health’s work to eliminate this dreaded disease from our country,” the Minister said.
According to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karen Boyle-Campbell, Guyana is one of four countries in the region where lymphatic filariasis remains a major problem.
“We care that’s why we are sharing, but do you care enough? Do you care enough to accept what is being offered? Once again let me say we are poised to reach elimination status come next year if we get it right this year,” Dr Boyle-Campbell said.
The Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Country Representative, Dr William Adu-Krow noted that while the prevalence of lymphatic filariasis is down, they are seeking to eliminate the disease completely.
Guyana has embraced the PAHO/WHO comprehensive strategy to tackle the disease and stop the spread of the infection through large scale annual rounds of mass drug administration.
Meanwhile, Minister Lawrence, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Dr Adu-Krow along with other officials kick-started the triple-drug therapy administration by taking their pills at the launch.