India’s commitment to eliminate filariasis by 2030 ; MDA include Bargarh, Keonjhar, Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj, Sonepur, Sundargarh and Sambalpur

Bhubaneshwar : The Department of Health and Family welfare, Government of Odisha, will organize a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) round in elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) in 7 endemic districts of the state. In this regard, an inaugural ceremony will be hold at Sambalpur district by the Health department in collaboration with Global Health Strategies on March 7, 2022. The objective of ceremony to create mass awareness about the benefits of Anti-Filarial drug to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis from state . The Mass Drug Administration (MDA) round will begin from 07 March till 16 March 2022 in 7 districts that are undertaking MDA include Bargarh, Keonjhar, Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj, Sonepur, Sundargarh and Sambalpur”.

Dr. Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Special Secretary to Govt., Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, “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 districts must consume anti-filarial drugs in the presence of health workers. 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 Program a public movement”. He also stated that “only with the support of the community and the media, we will be able to eliminate LF completely. If beneficiaries in large numbers consume anti-filaria drugs, it will break the chain of transmission”.

Dr. Shubhashisha Mohanty, State Program Officer, Vector Borne Diseases, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, informed, “Keeping in mind India’s commitment to eliminate filariasis by 2030 and acknowledging the importance of continuing important public health initiatives, the Government of Odisha is undertaking MDA round in 7 LF endemic districts of Odisha. The MDA round will be organized following all COVID-19 guidelines issued by the state Government.

Dr. Niranjan Mishra, Director, Public Health, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, stated that “Filaria” 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 but manifest in adulthood, this infection damages the lymphatic system and if left untreated, it causes abnormal swelling of the body parts which is irreversible. 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 (DEC and Albendazole) administered by trained health workers.” Dr. Mishra further spoke about the minor side-effects which is usually rare and  RRTs are there at field to tackle any such events.. He also mentioned that “Albendazole” is to be chewed and DEC to be engulfed. These medicines should be taken after food.

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.

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