GUYANA will next month, October, begin another Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign targeting all areas where the population is vulnerable to Lymphatic Filariasis or filaria as it is commonly called, with a nationwide distribution of pills.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) will roll out the campaign Under the slogan: Protect Yourself! Protect your family! Protect your community! TAKE YOUR FILARIA PILLS! and is encouraging everyone to take the pills to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis.
According to a notice from the MoPH, in 2017 and 2018, more than 80 per cent of eligible Guyanese in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) took the Diethyicarbamazine (DEC) and Albendazole, making those very successful years.
During the MDA 2019 campaign, the WHO advised that all countries with a history of Lymphatic Filariasis should add a third drug, Ivermectin to the DEC and Albendazole regimen. During this round Guyana will now administer three different tablets” Ivermectin, DEC and Albendazole. This combination called IDA will reduce the time needed to eliminate filaria.
The MoPH noted that IDA has been proven effective and safe worldwide and Guyana needs only two more successful rounds of MDA to eliminate filarial transmission— this year and 2020.
Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) or ‘Filaria’, as it is more commonly called, affects the body’s lymphatic system, which functions to remove unwanted fluids from the body and transports ‘lymph’- a fluid which contains white blood cells that help to fight infections.
In Guyana, filariasis is caused by the wuchereria bancrofti worm and is transmitted from human to human by the culex mosquito. The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis began in 2001 in Guyana.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that this disease is caused by infection with parasitic worms called nematodes, classified as ‘filarial worms.’