Berhampur: Department of Health and Family welfare, Ganjam is committed to leaving no stone unturned in achieving the elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis. On February 25, 2021, the health department and Global Health Strategies organized a launch ceremony to flag off the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) rounds from Govt.High school, Medical college Campus, Berhampur. The rounds will be undertaken from February 25 to March 6, 2021, following all COVID-19 protocols. Dr. SiddeshwarBaliram Bondar, BeMC Commissioner Ganjam, Dr.Umasankar Misra, Chief District Medical & Public Health Officer, Ganjam,Mr. Amulya Kumar Pradhan, District Education Officer, Berhampur, Ganjam, Dr. Santosh Kumar Padhi, Additional District Public Health Officer (VBD), Ganjam, Dr. R. JagdeesPatanaik, District Public Health Officer, Ganjam, Dr. Alexandra Vokaty, Team Leader, WHO, Dr. B P Dutta, NTD Coordinator, WHO Odisha, Dr. Arun Sivan, State Consultant, NVBDCP and Anuj Ghosh, Director Global Health Strategies were present at the launch event.
A public appeal message of Mr. Vijay Amruta Kulange, District Collector Ganjam was readout by Mr. Sham Sundar Tripathy, District Program Manager, National Health Mission during the launch ceremony. Mr. Kulange appealed to community membersto come forward and consume anti-filaria drugs in the presence of health workers to help make Odisha filaria-free.
During the launch, Dr. Siddeshwa Baliram Bondar, BeMC Commissioner, Ganjam stated that “our focus is toensure community participation to make MDA rounds successful. Further, we have to ensure that the drugs are administered in the presence of health workers and not merely distributed”. He further appealed to the communities stating that “it is imperative for the communities to consume the drugs in the presence of health workers, to protect themselves and their families from Filariasis. He also appealed to the high school students present, saying that “you are the brand ambassadors of the program and must consume the drugs and motivate your family members and society to consume the drugs in front of health worker”. Following his address,Dr. Bondar, he consumed the Anti-Filaria drugs along with all the dignitaries present on the dais. Theschool children were also administered the anti-filaria drugs by the Commissioner, thus officially flagging off thelaunch.
Mr. V Kirti Vasan, Sub-Collector, Berhampur stated that “we must eliminate filaria from the district to make our community healthy and productive. He also said that “we have eradicated polio, we have controlled COVID-19 and now it’s time to eliminate filaria”.
Dr. Umasankar Misra, Chief District Medical and Public Health Officer, Berhampur, Ganjam mentioned that “During the MDA rounds, it will be ensured that all eligible beneficiaries in the endemic districts, consume anti-filaria drugs in the presence of trained healthcare workers. Everyone except children below 2 years of age, pregnant women and seriously ill people must consume the prescribed dosage during the rounds”. Further he mentioned that around 7,050 trained Drug Administrators, 705 Supervisors, 132 Rapid Response Teams have been deployed in all 22 blocks, 1 BeMC and 16 NACs. The targeted beneficiaries in the district are 35,52,226.
During the opening remarks Dr. Santosh Kumar Padhi, Addl. District Public Health Officer, Vector Borne Dieases, Ganjamsaid that “Filariasis or Hathipaon” 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).
Mr. Amulya Kumar Padhan, District Education Officer, Berhampur, Ganjam stated that “children are the future of this country. We must secure a healthy future for the next generation. Filariasis is a threat to everyone, especially children, but its prevention is possible, and the solution is simple. We must make MDA rounds successful to protect ourselves and our children from Filariasis.”
Dr. B P Dutta, State NTD Coordinator, WHO Odisha said that the trained health workers will visit every house hold between 25th Feb. till 6thMar. and urged all community members to consume the Anti-Filaria drugs in front of the drug administrator. He also highlighted that these drugs are safe and have no side effects.
Lastly, Dr. Prabhati Mahapatra, Block Education Officer, Rangeilunda, Department of Education, Ganjam, thanked all dignitaries and emphasized that with the combined efforts of all, debilitating disease like Lymphatic Filariasis may be eliminated from the district.
The launch ceremony was organized by the Department of Healthand Family Welfare, Government of Odisha and supported by Global Health Strategies (GHS), World Health Organization (WHO) and Project Concern International (PCI).