Rally marks launch of MDA campaign in Reg. 10

— Regional Vice Chairman leads by example, first to take his pills

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, November 17, 2019

A march and rally marked the launch of the 2019 Mass Drug Administration (MDA), in Mackenzie, Linden on Friday, November 15. The event aimed to sensitise residents on the importance of taking their pills to fight lymphatic filariasis.

The exercise is important since the region has been identified as one in four, which still has active transmission of the disease.

National Supervisor of the MDA, Region 10, Dr. Annastacia Sampson, explained to the gathering, that filariasis is one of five neglected diseases in the world and is the most dreaded since it comes with not only physical challenges but emotional and mental challenges as well. While there is no cure in the latter stages of contraction, it can be prevented through the consumption of the three pills: Ivermectin, Albendazole and Diethylcarbamazine (DEC).

“Lymphatic filariasis is known to affect one’s quality of life, by causing lifelong disability and social stigma… I work with patients that are affected by lymphatic filariasis… and it is not easy when they share their life stories after being infected by lymphatic filariasis,” Dr. Sampson said.

Prevention, she noted, is important; therefore, everyone is encouraged to take their pills and to also play an integral role in encouraging their family and friends to do so as well. “The success of any mass drug administration depends on coverage. So, I charge Region 10, to continue in the fight to eliminate lymphatic filaria… I know Region 10 can do it,” she emphasised.

Sharing similar sentiments were Regional Health Officer (ag), Dr. Samuels, who encouraged residents to use other preventative mechanisms such as sleeping under mosquito nets, keeping all stored water covered and using insecticides.

“Residents of Region 10, I ask that you take your pills when the pill distributors come around. You are not only protecting yourself; you are protecting your children; you are protecting the future generation. You entrust us with your health concerning vaccinations and all other strategies, help us in this fight, it will go a long way,” she said.

PAHO/WHO Official, Dr. Jean Alexandre, said that PAHO was pleased to come on board with the Public Health Ministry, to help in the fight to root out this disease from Guyana, which he opined is sure to happen after the second round of IDA (2020).

The Mike James Drama Group delivered the message much clearer in two skits, which were well received by the audience. Also present at the event were officials of the Ministry of Public Health, PAHO/WHO and Regional officials.