Summary-The Hindu-Handling a Threat

Authors: N.K. Ganguly & S.L. Hoti

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, has been a public health problem in India since a very long time. In 1955, the Government launched the National Filaria Control Programme and currently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is in the process of finalising an Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (APELF). Around 650 million people still face a risk of LF, therefore, a lot needs to be done in order to meet the global target of elimination of LF by 2020.

The treatment of LF involves distributing at least 10 rounds of the two drugs (Diethylcarbamazine citrate and Albendazole, or DA). However, WHO has recommended ‘triple drug therapy’ that would shorten the number of doses required.

Sri Lanka has been certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as having eliminated LF as a public health problem in 2016 has shown that substantial investments in evidence-based social-mobilisation campaigns are beneficial.

Steps for prevention include:

  1. Use of insecticide-treated bed nets.
  2. Larval control to check the breeding of vectors or mosquitoes.
  3. Collaborating across government departments to build cross-linkages with other national programmes such as the Swachh Bharat Mission or malaria prevention.
  4. Prevention from re-emergence of infection in non-endemic areas due to migration of people from areas with ongoing transmission.

Read the full article here.

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