MDA campaign to eliminate filaria, target children

DPI, GUYANA, Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Ministry of Public Health collaborated with the Ministry of Education to ensure a successful Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign to provide preventative filaria medication to persons living in endemic areas.

Minister of Education Nicolette Henry

The MDA campaign launch was held at the Square of the Revolution, Vlissengen Road, Georgetown this morning. The collaboration is to ensure Guyana meets 65 percent coverage as it works to eradicate lymphatic filariasis, commonly called filaria, by 2020.

Following last year’s MDA campaign, it was found that there was need to modify the distribution strategy and to include new drug distribution platforms, mainly in schools.

In this regard, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry noted this campaign is crucial as her ministry works to reduce absenteeism in the education sector. The attendance rate in schools averages approximately 77 percent. Minister Henry credited “worm infestation” as one of the factors for absenteeism.

Children are at risk for filaria later on in their life when they are exposed to bites from the mosquito that carries the filaria worms. “That is why this programme is so important to be linked to the school system. Effective deworming in school decreases sick children through increasing learning capabilities and this is very important to academic performances,” Minister Henry explained.

Consent forms are being given to parents along with information on filaria and the treatment being used in the MDA campaign. Distribution of the medication is scheduled to begin in October.

The MDA campaign will be done in Regions Three, Four, Five and Ten. Guyana has been using MDA campaigns since 2003 as it works to eradicate the disease.

Since the introduction of MDA, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr Karen Cummings noted that Guyana has managed to achieve a “significant reduction of new ceases of lymphatic filariasis”.

“I’m very pleased that this programme has prevailed. This initiative is aimed at promoting the available medical solutions to combat lymphatic filariasis,” Minister Cummings said. Guyana is getting support from PAHO/WHO towards this end.

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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