No more Filariasis in PH in six years, says health dep’tCebu Daily News
A FILARIASIS-free Philippines by 2018.
This is the target of the Department of Health (DOH) as it established the National Filiarisis Program to eliminate lympathic filariasis affecting 44 provinces in the country.
Lymphatic Filariasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes that primarily affects the people living in the remote and rural areas.
In the Philippines, 44 provinces were declared as endemic with filariasis, said DOH Assistant Secretary Visayas Cluster Paulyn Jean Rosell Ubial during a forum in Cebu City yesterday.
Ubial said that the affected provinces were in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“Of the 44 provinces affected, 9 have already been declared as Filaria-free in the past four years and 3 provinces to be declared Filaria-free by November 2012,” she said.
There are at least 20 million Filipinos at risk in these affected provinces, said Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, chairman of the Coalition for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (CELF) Philippines, an organization helping the government in this health program.
Galvez-Tan said that there’re at least half a million Filipinos suffering from the disease.
Manifestations of the disease includes elephantiasis – the severest form which is a crippling condition in which limbs or other parts of the body are swollen or enlarged.
The program to eliminate Filariasis include a mass drug administration in affected areas. These involves distributing albendazole and diethylcarbamazine (DEC), a tablet to treat the disease.
The drug must be taken once a year for the next five years in order to eliminate the disease.
Sorsogon, which ranked as the province with the highest case of filariasis was already declared as Filaria-free after 7 years of Mass Drug Administration.
“The three provinces that DOH is confident to declare as Filaria-free by November 2012 are Marinduque, Albay, and Western Samar,” said Ubial.
In Central Visayas, Negros Oriental was newly discovered be endemic of the disease “but since the endemecity is low, MDA is not recommended but selective treatments are to be given to the people”, Ubial added.
“DOH have already allocated a full budget of P594M for the program and they are targeting to give the drugs and medicines to the whole population especially those which are mostly affected even though they do not have the symptoms of the disease,” she said./Correspondent Joy C. Quito