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Health Ministry Aims To Lower North Lymphatic Filariasis Prevalence Below 1%

“I believe we can eliminate LF in Fiji, if only we work together as a team in targeting 100% coverage of MDA,” he said.
29 Sep 2022 18:00
Health Ministry Aims To Lower North Lymphatic Filariasis Prevalence Below 1%
fourth from left-sitting first row) Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, with Labasa Divisional Hospital medical staff and (sixth from left- third row) Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Resident Representative, Amaike Mayumi, during the launch of the Drug Administration rollout program in Labasa on September 28, 2022.Photo: Sampras Anand.

The launching of the second round of the Northern Division Lymphatic Filariasis Mass Drug Administration Roll Out is aimed to eliminate the prevalence of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) to below one per cent.

Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, said they are delighted to launch the drug administration rollout after the delay influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was held at the Commissioner Northern’s office in Labasa on Wednesday.

 

The Northern Division was able to sustain a low prevalence of LF in the past years, which was indicated in the first and second transmission assessment survey.

Dr Waqainabete said the two phases of the rollout began in 2019 after a third assessment survey in 2018 indicated an increase in Lymphatic Filariasis cases.

“Every eligible person in the country will receive the medication whether they are infected or not to control and prevent future transmission,” he said.

The launch of the MDA is a collaborative programme where the drug administrated for Lymphatic Filariasis is effective in treating scabies as well.

(Left) Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, is administrated with the Lymphatic Filariasis tablets during the launch of its Mass Drug Administration programme for the disease in Labasa on September 28, 2022.Photo: Sampras Anand.

(Left) Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, is administrated with the Lymphatic Filariasis tablets during the launch of its Mass Drug Administration programme for the disease in Labasa on September 28, 2022.Photo: Sampras Anand.

Dr Waqainabete thanked the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Health Organisation for assisting their ministry in its fight to erase any traces of LF and scabies diseases.

“I believe we can eliminate LF in Fiji, if only we work together as a team in targeting 100% coverage of MDA,” he said.

“This would not be possible without the hard-working health workers present in our country and I thank you for your past, present and future commitment to Lymphatic Filariasis elimination”.

 

Dr Waqainabete said people must take the medication for Lymphatic Filariasis to avoid consequences to their lymphatic system where leg swelling and swelling in other parts of the body were common.

Ministry’s Head of Health Protection, Dr Aalisha Sahukhan, said this is the target set for elimination of LF and this had previously been achieved in the Western and Central Divisions, barring a few hotspot areas.

Ms Sahukhan said they continue to engage in their surveillance pro- grammes in these safe divisions to ensure that LF disease prevalence stayed below the threshold.

She said this was the reason the Western and Central Divisions were not part of the MD administration now as the surveys indicated the declining number of LF cases, below the 1% threshold.

 

The Eastern Division which has a prevalence level above one per cent will have its second round of the MDA next year.

The third disease which the drug also mitigated is a soil-transmitted disease known to be the cause of harbouring intestinal worms in the body.

The number of tablets a person would receive will be based on the calculation of their height and this was a new process of administrating medicines as this had been conducted in the past.

 

Story By: SAMPRAS ANAND

Feedback: sampras.anand@fijisun.com.fj



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