Anti-Lymphatic Filaria campaign begins in Region 6
Over 200 pill distributors have been dispatched across Region 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne) for a two-week Lymphatic Filarisis Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign.
The pill distributors are expected to be visiting homes and public spaces in communities in Region 6 to administer the triple drug treatment of Ivermectin, Dietcarbamazene (DEC) and Albenazole in what is the 2nd and final round of the MDA campaign to make the country Filarisis free.
With the exception of pregnant women, children under two years of age and persons that are seriously ill, everyone is eligible to take the pills. The pills will be administered via a height based dosage pole that determines the number of pills required to effectively eliminate the disease within the body.
While sensitization on the campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of February in the region, an official launch was held on Saturday at the Region 6 Regional Democratic Council Compound Tarmac in New Amsterdam where several regional, health and religious leaders took their pills.
Former Minister of Health and now Advisor to the Ministry,,Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, delivered the feature address at the launch stated that while the Ministry of Health has the human resources to help eliminate the infectious disease in Guyana, it cannot be done without the support of every Guyanese.
“Here we are coming to you with a solution, with a protection. We can end Lymphatic Filarisis, and we can guarantee each citizen in this country that you will not get Lymphatic Filarisis but we can only give that guarantee if we have a partnership to work together.”
He added that everyone has a critical role to play by firstly taking the pills and then encouraging their families, friends and other residents to take theirs as well.
“So I expect in the next two weeks that it is not only the health workers that will be pleading with people to take the medication. I expect that each person in the churches, temples and mosques will preach the message that our brothers and sisters must cooperate with the health workers and take your medicine.
“…so go out there and do the work, help the public health workers do what the know to do, they can do it but they can’t do it without you,” Dr Ramsammy stated.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease. Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. Infection is usually acquired in childhood causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system.
The painful and profoundly disfiguring visible manifestations of the disease, lymphoedema, elephantiasis and scrotal swelling occur later in life and can lead to permanent disability. These patients are not only physically disabled, but suffer mental, social and financial losses contributing to stigma and poverty.
In 2018, 893 million people in 49 countries were living in areas that require preventive chemotherapy to stop the spread of infection.
The global baseline estimate of people affected by lymphatic filariasis was 25 million men with hydrocele and over 15 million people with lymphoedema.
At least 36 million people remain with these chronic disease manifestations. Eliminating lymphatic filariasis can prevent unnecessary suffering and contribute to the reduction of poverty.