Filaria campaign to tackle vulnerable communities

first_imgThe Public Health Ministry will be commencing its Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Campaign early next week where the general population is urged to take their pills during the national distribution exercise.Spearheaded by the Mass Drug Administration (MDA), the programme will seek to target areas where the population is vulnerable to the disease. Guyanese will be given three tablets; Ivermectin, Diethylcarbamazine (DEC) and Albendazole. The combination of pills is referred to as the IDA and is proven to reduce the elimination time.Throughout the month of October, the pills will be provided in communities across the country. In the past two years, an estimated 80 per cent of persons in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice) were administered with DEC and Albendazole. This time around, Ivermectin will be introduced.Ivermectin is a medication used to treat many types of parasitic infestations. This includes head lice, scabies, and Lymphatic Filariasis. Research shows that it is better to take the drug on an empty stomach or one to two hours after a meal. Side effects of the drug include headache; dizziness; muscle pain; nausea; diarrhoea; swelling of hands, ankles or feet; swelling or tenderness of lymph nodes and/or itching.The number of tablets varies per age, and they are not to be given to pregnant women and children below the age of two years old. It is said that a person requires five annual doses of the pills before they become immune to the mosquito-borne disease.Last October, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence had announced that over US$1 million was used for pills and sensitisation procedures for 2018. Lawrence reported that for the MDA programme, more locals were interested in taking the pills to prevent the dreaded disease from affecting their lymphatic glands and causing swelling.The Minister said although some were excited to take the pills, others were more concerned about the side effects. As a result, she noted that more information will be provided for locals on the side effects, which are mild, as well as the benefits of consuming the tablets.It was disclosed during the launch of the MDA programme that epidemiology coverage has improved from 45.7 per cent in 2015, to 54.42 per cent in 2016 as only two regions received the pills back in 2015, and the Government was able to extend the pill distribution to four in 2016.This was still, however, no major achievement for the country as the pass mark for coverage percentage was 65 per cent, according to the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO). The country was finally able to achieve this last year, achieving 86 per cent epidemiology coverage.last_img

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