India adopts new strategy to eliminate lymphatic filariasis

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JP Nadda inaugurates 10th meeting of GAELF in New Delhi

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda inaugurated the 10th meeting of Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF) in New Delhi. During the event, Nadda released the Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) 2018 for India. The occasion was graced by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Karen Cummings, Minister of Guyana, Prof Balram Bhargava, Secretary DHR & DG-ICMR, Prof Charles Mackenzie, Chair GAELF, Dr Promila Gupta, Director General of Health Services and Dr Jonathan King, WHO Head Quarter.

Nadda said that significant progress towards the filariasis elimination has been made by India. “With the concerted efforts of government, state governments and development partners, 100 districts out of total 256 endemic districts have achieved elimination target and stopped Mass Drug Administration (MDA) after successful validation by Transmission Assessment Survey (TAS) and are under post MDA surveillance.

The 10th GAELF meeting brought together various country programmes, three pharmaceutical companies — GSK, Eisai and MSD — that have donated drugs, non-governmental organisations, research organisations, donor governmental agencies, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The theme for this year’s GAELF meeting is ‘Celebrating progress towards elimination: Voices from the field on overcoming programme challenges.’ Programme managers and senior ministerial personnel from 11 Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) endemic countries — Cambodia, Cook Islands, Egypt, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Niue, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu are participating in the event.

Participating in the inaugural session, Choubey, said, “It is crucial to encourage the community to consume preventive medicines given out during MDA.”

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) spoke about ICMR study results that showed the safety and efficacy of IDA and its roll-out in a phased manner in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Arwal (Bihar) and Simdega (Jharkhand) soon.

Nadda gave away GAELF awards to 11 countries — Cambodia, Cook Islands, Egypt, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Niue, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Togo, Tonga and Vanuatu, for successfully interrupting the transmission. The Union Health Minister also released the Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) 2018 for India.