Berhampur: The Department of Health and Family welfare, Government of Odisha, will organize Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis in the districts from 25th February to 6th March 2021. In this regards, a media sensitization workshop was organized in the district by the Health department in collaboration with WHO and Global Health Strategies on February 23, 2021. The objective of this workshop was to ensure dissemination of information highlighting the debility caused by Lymphatic Filariasis, so that people can get accurate information about this serious disease.
Through a video appeal message, Sri. Naba Kishore Das, Hon’ble Minister, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, appealed to the public to consume anti-filaria drugs administered during MDA program in the districts in the presence of the drug administrator.
During the workshop, Dr. Uma Sankar Misra, Chief District Medical & Public Health Officer-cum-District Mission Director, Ganjam said, “Keeping in mind India’s commitment to eliminate filariasis by 2021 and acknowledging the importance of continuing important public health initiatives, the Government of Odisha Under the National Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program, is undertaking MDA rounds in the districts from 25th February to 6th March 2021.
Dr. Santosh Kumar Padhi, ADPHO (VBD), Ganjam stated through a presentation that “Filariasis or Hathipaon disease” is a serious public health problem which is spread by mosquito bites. Filariasis is one of the leading causes of long-term disability worldwide. Commonly acquired in childhood, this infection damages the lymphatic system and if left untreated, it causes abnormal swelling of the body parts. People with Filariasis often suffer from manifestations such as Hydrocele (inflammation of the scrotum), lymphoedema (swelling in the limbs) and Chyluria (milky white urine). The condition affects livelihoods, opportunities and working capacity of those suffering from LF and they often become a subject of stigma. Filariasis is a disabling disease which can be prevented by consuming anti-filaria drugs administered by trained health workers.” Dr.Padhi further spoke about the minor side-effects which are usually followed with consuming anti-filaria drugs. He stated that “the antigen produced from killed parasites can lead to symptoms like itching, nausea etc. However, small side-effects must not outweigh the importance of consuming the anti-filaria drugs. This discomfort is also an indicator that the programme is working”.
India’s National Programme for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis has a two-pillar strategy:
1. Mass Drug Administration (MDA): Anti filarial drugs are administered to prevent transmission of Filariasis in the endemic areas.
2. Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP): Caring for patients through home-based morbidity management for lymphoedema and surgical correction for hydrocele cases.
Dr. R Jagadees Patnaik, District Public Health Officer, Ganjam spoke about the benefits of deworming. He said that “the preventive drugs administered during MDA such as Albendazole have additional benefits like de-worming, which increases absorption of nutrients in children and helps in their physical and cognitive development.
Dr. Sambit Pradhan, Zonal Coordinator (NTD), said, “During MDA rounds, all safety precautions (hand hygiene, mask and physical distancing) will be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It will further be ensured that eligible beneficiaries in the endemic blocks to consume anti-filarial drugs in the presence of ASHA, AWW and trained volunteers. Everyone except children below 2 years, pregnant women and seriously ill people must consume the prescribed dosage during the rounds in the presence of trained health workers”.
He also stressed that, “Under this programme, the participation of community is extremely crucial. With the commitment towards elimination of Filariasis, it is very important for public representatives, officials, health workers and the community to make the filariasis elimination Programme a public movement”. The social mobilization activities in the district involving PRI members, religious leaders, school children, ICDS staffs is also playing key role for better compliance in the district.
During this campaign around 7,050 trained Drug Administrators, 705 Supervisors, 132 RRTs will be engaged in all 22 blocks, 1 BeMC and 16 NACs. Total targeted beneficiaries in the district is 35,52,226.
Lastly, Mr. Anuj Ghosh, Director, Global Health Strategies, thanked all participants and emphasized that with the combined efforts of all, we can eliminate the debilitating disease like Lymphatic Filariasis from the state.