ALAPPUZHA: India has achieved tremendous progress in the WHO programme to deal with neglected tropical diseases, including lymphatic filariasis, ac-cording to Dr. Albis Francesco Gabrielli, medical officer, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Wor-ld Health Organisation.
“India has implemented Mass Drug Administration (MDA) and depl-oyment of minimum package for disability prevention,” he told this paper on the sidelines of a five-day international seminar on ‘Morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP)’ underway at Medical College Hospital here.
Filariasis is one of the 20 neglected tropical diseases in the world and 600 million people require intervention every year. Half of them are from South-East Asia. It has been reported in America, Africa and Middle East. WHO aims at elimination tactics and MDA, including public health intervention for morbidity management and preventing transmission. Two de-worming medications (albendazole and diethylcarbamazine) have been administered through MDA. Triple drug administration is recommended in a limited number of countries.
The first pillar of the WHO programme is reducing cases through MDA. The second pillar of MMDP has been introduced as the advanced stages can’t be cured with the first pillar.
The drugs being used through MDA are donated for which there exist memorandum of understanding (MoU) and leg-al agreements between manufactures and WHO. Manufactures donate drugs to WHO for state governments.
WHO is currently collaborating with centres including ‘Medical Worl-dwide’ for providing tra-ining in MDA, MMDP and public health programmes implemented by the local governments. “We train doctors how to diagnose, take care of legs and deal with public health programme,” he said.
Brugian filariasis had plagued Chertala taluk and Bancroftian filariasis in the rest of the country in 1980s. Brugian filariasis is more severe as it causes grotesque elephantiasis to the carrier. It was also called Chertala leg (Chertala Manthu). In 1986, one out of five people in Chertala had filariasis. But now, as per the validation of WHO, anti-filariasis campaign in the state has come a long way.