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Health Ministry plans to introduce Mass Drug Administration programme in Yadgir district, Karnataka

Priyanka Sharma | Updated: Sep 20, 2019 16:50 IST

By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], Sept 20 (ANI): The Health Ministry has planned to introduce a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programme, similar to the Triple Drug Therapy, in Yadgir district of Karnataka, scheduled to take place in November 2019.
The Triple Drug Therapy (Ivermectin, DEC and Albendazole) was implemented by the Union Health Ministry to eliminate 'Lymphatic Filariasis' in four districts- Arwal (Bihar), Simdega (Jharkhand), Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
After it's satisfactory results now the health ministry has planned to introduce similar MDA programme in Yadgir district of Karnataka.
"Under the triple-drug therapy programme in four districts, World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated a total of 31.27 million tablets of Ivermectin through the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP). This was successfully done on a trial basis and results were satisfactory. The fifth district is been planned in Yadgir, Karnataka which is scheduled to undertake IDA in November 2019," said a senior official on condition of anonymity.
"WHO is committed to donating Ivermectin under the MDP to India and assured 50 million doses per year till 2022. To expedite eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis national programme, we would also plan to expand IDA to 152 MDA districts further," the source added.
Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is transmitted through Culex mosquitoes which is a seriously debilitating and incapacitating disease. In 2004, a first survey was done based on the number of cases reported and it found about 256 endemic districts in India which contributes to about 45 per cent of global disease burden.
Last year, the health ministry recommended the triple-drug therapy of- (Ivermectin, DEC and Albendazole) instead of double drug chemotherapy (DEC and Albendazole). This was done has a part of WHO's guidelines titled- 'Alternative Mass Drug Administration Programme to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis.'
The advantage of triple-drug therapy suggested that two to three rounds of MDA are enough to reduce the disease burden.
"Until 2007, only DEC drug was being given to the vulnerable population. Later in 2007, a joint dose of DEC and Albendazole tablets provided in all 256 endemic districts in pursuit to achieve the target to eliminate lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem in India. But the challenge was that these drugs had to be given for at least five to six years for its effectiveness," said the official.
"This used to be verified by a technical assessment survey to rule out the presence of microfilaria. This way till now, 96 districts have cleared all rounds and have achieved the elimination targets. Currently, 160 districts are still under the MDA programme," the official added. (ANI)