70% achievement will earn Guyana – Guyana Times certificate of eradication of filaria
HomeNews70% achievement will earn Guyana filaria eradication certificate
The last dose of filaria pill is ready for nationwide distribution in February and according to Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, if there is a 70 percent reach across the population, Guyana will receive certification that it completely eliminated filaria. As such, Dr. Anthony urged the citizen to take the pills as he praised the initiative. He noted that while trained personnel are willing to undertake this campaign nationwide, public support is essential. “This would be a good program we are delivering because once we have been able to reach at least 70 per cent of our population, during the current rollout, we would get certification that we would have eradicated filaria from Guyana. That is something we are aiming for but if we are to eliminate it, people really need to take the tablets, ”he underlined. Dr Anthony has already put mechanisms in place to ensure that all stakeholders are reached. As a result, the Ministry of Education has worked together to ensure that the pills are distributed in schools across the country with parental consent. In giving an update on the distribution, Dr. Anthony noted that many students are also at home and will receive the pills via the house-to-house drive. “While in the past schools were one of the areas we would have targeted, students are out of school. Once we have done the house-to-house distribution, we will reach those students. Those at school, we reach them at school and we have a form that I and Minister Manickchand would sign asking parents to allow students at school to take the medicines there . “ The World Health Organization recommends it to introduce mass administration of medicines in countries seeking complete eradication of filariasis. Guyana would have completed the first round over a year ago, and now the final round will be administered to citizens. Once the campaign starts in February, it should finish later that month. It was highlighted that training has already begun for individuals who will administer the medicines. Teams are sent to different communities throughout Guyana, visiting every home. Once the program is complete, WHO will be tasked with evaluating the country, officially certifying whether the country is free of filaria. The Minister had previously said, “For the first time, we will be able to eradicate filaria in Guyana. For us to do that, it takes a lot of work. We need people to help us take the medicine and once we finish this exercise, we will get an evaluation from the World Health Organization and other partners and they would certify whether or not we are free of biliary disease. “ Last September, we launched and led the Lymphatic Filariasis Eradication Campaign on the Mass Drug Administration (MDA). The program sought to target areas where the population is vulnerable to the disease. Guyanese was given three tablets; Ivermectin, Diethylcarbamazine (DEC) and Albendazole. The pill combination is referred to as the IDA. The number of tablets varies by age, and should not be given to pregnant women and children under two years of age. It is said that a person needs five annual doses of the pills before he becomes immune to the mosquito-borne disease. According to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease is caused by three species of thread-like nematode worms, known as filariae – Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. Male worms range from three to four centimeters in length, and female worms eight to 10 centimeters. The worms target the lymphatic system, which is an essential part of the body’s immune system as they are essentially a network of nodes and vessels that maintain the delicate fluid balance between blood and body tissues. But when infected, the male and female worms form “nests” together in this vital system.