Representatives from all 53 primary schools across Region Six on
Wednesday participated in a Ministry of Public Health consultation
workshop, at the Berbice High School, aimed at sensitising
stakeholders on the fight against Lymphatic Filariasis.
The Ministry of Public Health is currently in the process of adding a
third medication to the two pills which are currently being used in
its Mass Drug Administration against Lymphatic Filariasis, a tropical
disease that impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal
enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social
According to the National Coordinator for the Neglected Infectious
Diseases Department of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Moses
Stuart, the addition of this third pill to the prevention regimen for
filaria “shortens the course needed for MDA from five years to only
two years if done correctly”. This new pill has little to no side
effects in an individual and significantly reduces the heavy worm
burden present in the body.
The National Coordinator said that this intervention will come on
stream in 2019. Sensitisation and consultations exercises to educate
persons about the new medication, as well as awareness sessions about
the disease, will be conducted throughout the region.
According to Dr. Moses Stuart, the introduction of Ivermectin will be
preceded by an accessibility study where Vector Control Services will
oversee a random house to house survey to garner people’s views on the
Senior teachers attached to the primary education level within the
region were informed of the important role they would play in
educating their fellow teachers and parents about consultation forms
that will soon be issued to students who are to be tested for the
Parents/Guardians will be required to full up a two-page consultation
form, indicating that they give full consent for their child/children
to undergo Lymphatic Filariasis test.
It was highlighted that this exercise is compulsory to every
parent/guardian who has children attending the primary education
level. The targeted age group is 6 to 16 years old. However, every
individual will be given the opportunity to get tested.
Dr. Moses Stuart assured the gathering that all results are
confidential, and the parents will only be approached if the child is
proven a victim of the disease. Medication will then be distributed to
the entire family by a team from the National Coordinator for the
Neglected Infectious Diseases Department. If the child does not test
positive, prevention will be given to that child. During this process,
the child’s name nor any sort of personal information will not be
The Lymphatic Filariasis mass drug distribution exercise is set to be
taken to Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam.)
At the end of the sensitization and consultations, suggestions of
strategies for curbing Filaria is expected to be presented.