“For India, Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is not a neglected disease as may be the case in some other countries, but a priority disease for elimination in a time bound manner. India is committed to eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the global target through mission mode, multi partner, multi sector, targeted drive for which we have drawn up the roadmap”. This was stated by Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya as he chaired the National Symposium on India’s Roadmap to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today. Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog was also present at the event.
Dr Mandaviya said that learning from the wide experience of the country in elimination of other diseases, we have come up with a renewed five-pronged strategy for elimination of LF. The five pillars are as follows:
- Multi-drug administration (MDA) Campaign twice a year synchronized with National Deworming Day (10th Feb and 10th August)
- Early diagnosis and treatment; engagement of medical colleges for strengthening Morbidity management and disability (MMDP) services
- Integrated Vector Control with multi sectoral coordinated efforts
- For inter sectoral convergence with allied departments and ministries
- Leveraging existing digital platforms for LF and exploring alternate diagnostics
Reiterating India’s resolve to eliminate LF in a time bound manner, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya emphasized that despite the diverse geographical and social-economic dimensions of India, every region and partner has its strengths, which we aim to harness as we move ahead with an endgame strategy. India has demonstrated to the world that we can be Polio free through Jan-Bhagidari. LF elimination calls for the same approach where various Ministries, Departments across the Centre and States, NGOs, private sector through CSR, faith leaders, community influencers etc., come together in a spirit of Sewa and Sahyog”. Let us have our own “India Model” based on identification of our priorities and leveraging our strengths to efficiently implement our plans, he added.
Reiterating India’s philosophy of Antyodaya, Dr. VK Paul, Member (Health) NITI Aayog said that LF affects specific geographies and mostly poor and downtrodden section of our society. Appreciated this timely and re-energized intervention by the government, he said that the morbidity backlog needs to be cleared as soon as possible and urged for innovative practices to reach remotest parts of the country through special camps, private sector and development partners involvement for effective mitigation. He also pushed for concurrent research through which local evidence-based decision making can take place and mass visibility campaigns at the national, state, district, sub-district and block levels.
Four States (UP, Odisha, Telangana, and Bihar) account for ~60% Lymphedema cases, while four States (Odisha, Jharkhand, UP and Bihar,) account for ~80% Hydrocele cases.
Union Health Secretary Shri Rajesh Bhushan (who joined virtually), Smt. Roli Singh, Additional Secretary & Mission Director (NHM) and Shri Rajiv Manjhi, JS were present at the event. Event was attended by policy makers, senior government representatives, technical experts, research, and development experts. The National Symposium served as a platform to highlight India’s progress in eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis and discuss key points of convergence for stakeholders and the Enhanced five-pronged Strategy for the Elimination of LF.
Glimpses of the event can be seen from this tweet by Union Health Minister: