Mass Drug Administration for Filariasis
Nov 25, 2009
Health Sciences Campus, Kochi
Filariasis is a dreaded disease. The world’s leading cause of permanent and long-term disability, it is most recognizable in its later-stage manifestation, also known as elephantiasis. This is characterized by painful swelling of the legs and genital organs.
Eradication of filariasis is possible. Annual mass drug administration, with high coverage rates, for a period of 4-6 years is recommended. The highest incidence of the disease is seen in tropical countries like India.
On November 11, 2009, an MDA (mass drug administration) was organized at the Health Sciences campus in Kochi. While it was aimed primarily at the faculty, students and staff at that campus, patients and by-standers were also welcome to participate.
Five stations were set up at various points on campus to oversee the efficient and smooth functioning of the mass drug administration. Drugs were also distributed in several departments on specific requests.
“As in previous years, the drug delivery will be conducted by trained staff and students of the department of Community Medicine,” informed Dr. Prathapan Nair, Principal of the School of Medicine. “Each station will be managed by these staff and students.”
Nearly 4200 people queued received the medicinal doses. Supplied to Amrita by the Health Department, one dose included 1 tab of albendazole and 3 tabs of diethylcarbamazine. All four tablets are to be taken together, after eating food.
Earlier, a paper titled “Mass Drug Administration against Filariasis in India: Perception and Practices in a Rural Community in Kerala” was accepted for publication in the international journal, “Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology” (Sept 2009 issue).
The authors of the paper, faculty in the department of Community Medicine — Dr. Aswathy S., Ms. Beteena Kurien (Biostatistics) and Dr. K. Leelamoni (HoD) reported their findings.
“In India, annual rounds of mass drug administrations (MDA) based on diethylcarbamazine and albendazole are used to control filariasis, which is a major public-health problem. In December 2007/January 2008, a few weeks after one such MDA, a household survey was conducted in the Ernakulam district of Kerala to evaluate coverage and compliance.
In a univariate analysis, individual compliance in the last MDA was found to be positively associated with perceived benefits to the individual (P,0.001) and the perceived usefulness of MDA (P50.001). It therefore appears that communication exercises targeted at the areas with relatively low compliance and designed to improve perceptions of the benefits and usefulness of MDA against filariasis could be the key to a successful control program.”
Read Paper Abstract >>