Nepal | July 05, 2020

Elimination of lymphatic filariasis unlikely by 2020

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, February 22

Considering the progress made in controlling lymphatic filariasis, it is very much unlikely for Nepal to meet its target of eliminating the disease from the country by 2020.

Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Dr Bibek Kumar Lal said Nepal would not be able to meet its target by 2020 as the prevalence rate of the disease is still 13 per cent.

Organising a press meet here today, Dr Lal shared prevalence rate of the disease should be brought below one per cent for the country to be declared lymphatic filariasis free.

“It will take us a few more years to declare the country lymphatic filariasis free,” he added.

“Drug administration campaign against lymphatic filariasis has not become effective due to lack of awareness among people about the disease,” said
Dr Lal.

Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a painful and profoundly disfiguring disease, according to World Health Organisation.

The disease is caused by three species of thread-like nematode worms, known as filariae – wuchereria bancrofti, brugia malayi and brugia timori. Male worms are about three to four centimetres in length, and female worms 8 to10 centimetres. The male and female worms together form ‘nests’ in the human lymphatic system, the network of nodes and vessels that maintain the delicate fluid balance between blood and body tissues. Lymphatic system is an essential component of the body’s immune system.

It can be prevented through chemotherapy using albendazole in combination with either ivermectin or diethylcarbamazine citrate. Preventive chemotherapy enables the regular and coordinated administration of safe, single-dose medications delivered through mass drug administration.

According to Lal, Nepal has begun the mass drug Administration from 2003 and 48 districts of the country has less than one per cent prevalence rate. “We have already started the campaign and provided six dozes of albendazole in these areas,” he informed.

Epidemiology and Disease Control Division  has been conducting research on the prevalence rate of LY every two years while it has been organising MDA campaign every year.

‘This year we are organizing campaign in 15 districts — Panchthar, Ilam, Jhapa, Dhankuta, Morang, Bara, Lamjung, Parbat, Baglung, Kapilvastu, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur,” said Lal.

From this MDA campaign, which is starting from Febraury 27, will be run by the local governments. For the campaign, the government has allocated Rs 200 million.


A version of this article appears in print on February 23, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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