Bhubaneshwar, July 25, 2023: The Department of Health and Family welfare, Government of Odisha is committed to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) across state and to meet this objective, the second phase of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) round is beginning from August 10, 2023 in 11 endemic districts of the state i.e. Angul, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Sonepur, Sundergarh, Jajpur, Ganjam, Dhenkanal, and Sambalpur along with National Deworming Day (NDD) with 3 drugs (Ivermectin + DEC + Albendazole). It is for the first time that the State is going to conduct MDA through triple drug Therapy. Observing the important role of media for accelerating information and awareness of the program, a state level editors’ meet was organized in Bhubaneshwar by the Health department in collaboration with Global Health Strategies on July 25, 2023. The objective of this workshop was to facilitate comprehensive dissemination of information that highlights the debility caused by Lymphatic Filariasis – to ensure individuals and communities receive accurate information about the seriousness and impact of the disease.
Dr. Niranjan Mishra, Director, Public Health, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, stated that “Filaria is a serious public health problem which is spread by mosquito bites. Filariasis is one of the leading cause of long-term disability worldwide. It is commonly acquired in childhood but manifested in adulthood, this infection impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to abnormal swelling of the body parts causing acute attackas and disabilities which is irreversible. People with Filariasis often suffer from manifestations such as Hydrocele (inflammation of the scrotum), lymphoedema (swelling in the limbs) and Chyluria (milky white urine). The condition affects livelihoods, opportunities and working capacity of those suffering from LF and they often become a victim to social stigma. The Mass Drug Administration (MDA) is a key component in addressing the disabling disease, where anti-filaria drugs (Ivermectin, DEC and Albendazole) are administered to eligible populations by trained health workers.” Dr. Mishra further spoke about the minor side-effects which is usually rare and Rapid Response Team (RRTs) will be present to tackle any such events. He also mentioned that “Albendazole” is to be chewed and “Ivermectin and DEC” to be swallowed. These medicines should be taken after food.
Dr. Sachidananda Mohanty, Director of Medical Education and Training, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha heighted the role of Medical collages and informed that “once filaria symptoms are visible, it is not reversable”. Medical colleges across state are providing morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) services and surgeries of Hydrocele cases. Medical collages are also conducting independent assessment post Mass Drug Administration to assess the quality. We are fully committed to eliminate this disease from Odisha by 2027.
Dr. Suchitra Sasmal, Senior Regional Director, NCVBDCP, Odisha said, “This is a preventable disease but it is not a curable disease. As Odisha goes into the MDA this year this year starting from August 10 in 11 districts, wishing the state a great success for achieving a Filariasis free Odisha”.
Dr. Amarendranath Mohanty, Director, State Institute of Health Family Welfare, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, said “community compliance, ownership and sustained monitoring is the need of the hour to ensure a Filariasis free Odisha and with our collective efforts, this is achievable”. He also urged the media to play an active role in evidence based information dissemination and emphasized on the need for community mobilization in achieving the disease elimination targets.
Dr.Bijay Kumar Panigrahi, Director, Family Welfare, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, informed that Govt of Odisha is making great efforts to organize MDA and De-worming day all together in a integrated way. He further said that albendazole drug, provided during MDA is beneficial for the children to kill other worms inside the intestine.
Dr. Shubhashisha Mohanty, Joint Director cum State Program Officer, Vector Borne Diseases, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, said, “Keeping in mind India’s commitment to eliminate filariasis by 2027 and acknowledging the importance of continuing important public health initiatives, we are organizing MDA with an inter collaborative approaches, involving many other departments to work proactively in this program.
During this campaign around 65646 trained drug administrators including ASHAs will visit every household in 11 districts to ensure drug consumption to 1,81,23,082 beneficiaries. To supervise the MDA around 6431 supervisors are also deployed to ensure the quality of the program.
Lastly, Anuj Ghosh, Senior Director, Global Health Strategies, thanked all participants and emphasized that with the combined efforts of all, we can eliminate the debilitating disease like Lymphatic Filariasis from the state.
State representatives of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO), PCI and state consultants of NVBDCP were also present in this editors’ meet.