November is Filariasis Awareness Month
Tacloban City (November 2) -- The Government launched November as Filariasis Awareness Month. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has said the fight to eliminate lymphatic filariasis has been going on but he has instructed all heads of the Department of Health nationwide to strengthen and widen their information drive against Filariasis disease.
DOH is giving importance to the partnership with private sectors nationwide in its thrust to eliminate the disease which affects 48 provinces and all the Regions of the country except Region 2 and NCR.
Filariasis is a major parasitic infection, which continues to be a public health problem in the Philippines. It is the second leading cause of permanent and long-term disability.
A control program was created in 1963 and was placed under the Communical Disease Control Service in 1987 under E.O. 119. It is one of the vertical programs of the Department of Health, which is being implemented through the Filariasis Control Units in Region 5, 8 and 11. In other endemic areas without Filariasis Control Units, the program is implemented by the designated personnel from the Center for Health Development.
It was only in 1996, that the program was given a separate budget. It objective is to eliminate filariasis, in line with the World Health Organization call for global elimination of filariasis as a public health problem.
Preparatory activities on elimination started in 1998 such as determining the real magnitude of the problem through Endemic Mapping, field testing of the new rapid assessment diagnostic method, the Immunochromatographic test for filariasis, pilot testing of the new treatment strategy using Mass Annual Treatment with combination drugs, Diethylcarbamazine Citrate and Albendazole
The Department of Health's battlecry is to eliminate Filiriasis by taking the medicine once a year for five consecutive years.
Fiariasis causes suffering and disability. It is a neglected tropical disease that affects children, men and women, young and old. However, the disease can be eradicated, DOH says. (PIA 8) [top]