The second and final round of the Mass Drug Administration (MDA), which aims to eliminate the Lymphatic Filariasis Virus in Guyana, will commence in February and Region 10 will see the campaign being officially launched on February 26th, 2021, while pill distribution will commence on March 1st, 2021, in the various communities. On Wednesday, a team of several health officials from the Ministry of Public Health, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), and the Region 10 Department of Health, hosted a meeting to finalise preparations for the community engagement project, that will lead up to the official launch. Those present included Regional Health Officer Dr. Gregory Harris and Adviser, Health Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control, PAHO/WHO Guyana, Dr. Jean Seme Fils Alexandre. The team also spent several days prior, training pill distributers from various communities within the region.
The aim of the campaign is to sensitise the public on the importance of participating, by drinking the pills and encouraging others to do so as well. Since we are already in a pandemic, the team is aware that more effort needs to be placed on community engagement. In fact, as a result of the pandemic, the campaign, which was originally slated for October-November 2020, had to be pushed back to 2021. It is however necessary that the campaign be held in 2021, in order to attain elimination status within the allotted time frame.
The Triple Drug Regimen is called IDA and includes the drugs Diethylcarbamazine (DEC) Albendazole and Ivermectin. It aims to root out lymphatic filariasis from Guyana, thus removing its name as one of the two remaining countries in the Americas, still haunted by the disabling and disfiguring neglected tropical disease.
Scientific evidence has proven, that adding Ivermectin to the two-drug combination that was previously done, the microfilaria is cleared more effectively from the blood. The dosage of the drug will be given according to the height of the consumer and the Pill distributors will ascertain this with the use of a dose pole (a measuring ruler).
An infected person can carry the parasite for more than 20 years, before experiencing any form of swelling to their tissues, when it will be already too late.