1 July 2014

Malawi: 'Malawi On Course of Eliminating Elephantiasis'

Blantyre — The Preliminary results of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) prevalence assessment currently underway has revealed that Malawi is on a right track of completely eliminating elephantiasis among people, Ministry of Health (MoH) has said.

The MoH Deputy spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe has since attributed the development to the successful mass drug administration campaigns which the ministry has been conducting in the recent past few years.

"The LF prevalence assessment survey this year indicates that Malawi is on a good course to completely eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis very soon and as ministry of health we are very excited because this is so due to regular MDA we have been conducting in recent years," explained Chikumbe

Chikumbe disclosed this to Malawi News Agency (Mana) ahead of this year's Mass Drug Administration (MDA) against LF also crudely known as elephantiasis which the ministry intends to start on August 1.

He said the campaign which will be done in all the districts targets everyone including those above five years.

"Those Under-five children but with a height of over 90 centimeteres may also be included and apart from conventional health facilities, schools will also be utilized for the exercise to ensure that no one is left out.

"At the moment, it is starting with dissemination of elephantiasis related messages to the public through various available channels for maximum coverage," he said.

According to the Deputy Publicist, elephantiasis is caused by parasitic worms which are routinely treated by Abendazole and Mectizane thus it is the same drugs that the ministry shall be providing during the campaign including to those with infections.

He then urged the general public to take the drugs during the campaign in order to further assist in eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis in Malawi adding: "This is the last time the ministry will be holding such a campaign."

Chikumbe therefore commended Malawians for their cooperation throughout the past similar campaigns and during LF prevalence assessment survey which he said has started yielding positive results as stipulated in preliminary results.

The exercise is largely supported by the Malawi Government and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom.

Ministry of health, according to Chikumbe has not yet ascertains the actual value of the campaign because the drugs are provided for a free of charge.

Lymphatic filariasis also known as elephantiasis is caused by parasitic worms of the Filarioidea type. Early signs and symptoms of the disease are similar to those of malaria which include fever and general malaise.

Parenthetically, both are transmitted by mosquitoes. There are complications that distinguish LF from malaria and other diseases which include swelling of some organs such as limbs, according to MoH.


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