Region Six teachers educated about govts fight against Lymphatic Filariasis
─ adding a third pill to mass drug distribution fight
─ intervention will come on stream in 2019
─ distribution exercise to be taken to Region Two
DPI, Guyana, Friday, October 12, 2018
Representatives from all 53 primary schools across Region Six on Wednesday participated in a Ministry of Public Health consultation workshop, at the Berbice High School, aimed at sensitising stakeholders on the fight against Lymphatic Filariasis.
The Ministry of Public Health is currently in the process of adding a third medication to the two pills which are currently being used in its Mass Drug Administration against Lymphatic Filariasis, a tropical disease that impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma.
According to the National Coordinator for the Neglected Infectious Diseases Department of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Moses Stuart, the addition of this third pill to the prevention regimen for filaria “shortens the course needed for MDA from five years to only two years if done correctly”. This new pill has little to no side effects in an individual and significantly reduces the heavy worm burden present in the body.
The National Coordinator said that this intervention will come on stream in 2019. Sensitisation and consultations exercises to educate persons about the new medication, as well as awareness sessions about the disease, will be conducted throughout the region.
According to Dr. Moses Stuart, the introduction of Ivermectin will be preceded by an accessibility study where Vector Control Services will oversee a random house to house survey to garner people’s views on the new medication.
Senior teachers attached to the primary education level within the region were informed of the important role they would play in educating their fellow teachers and parents about consultation forms that will soon be issued to students who are to be tested for the disease.
Parents/Guardians will be required to full up a two-page consultation form, indicating that they give full consent for their child/children to undergo Lymphatic Filariasis test.
It was highlighted that this exercise is compulsory to every parent/guardian who has children attending the primary education level. The targeted age group is 6 to 16 years old. However, every individual will be given the opportunity to get tested.
Dr. Moses Stuart assured the gathering that all results are confidential, and the parents will only be approached if the child is proven a victim of the disease. Medication will then be distributed to the entire family by a team from the National Coordinator for the Neglected Infectious Diseases Department. If the child does not test positive, prevention will be given to that child. During this process, the child’s name nor any sort of personal information will not be taken.
The Lymphatic Filariasis mass drug distribution exercise is set to be taken to Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam.)
At the end of the sensitization and consultations, suggestions of strategies for curbing Filaria is expected to be presented.
Story and Image: Tanuja Raikha.