India adopts new strategy to accelerate lymphatic filariasis elimination

NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Wednesday inaugurated the 10th meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF).

The minister launched India's Accelerated Plan for Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination (APELF) on the occasion.

Acknowledging that India's LF elimination programme needs a push, Nadda said that strategies like the Triple Drug Therapy or IDA [Ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine (DEC) and Albendazole], community engagement for successful MDA implementation and use of DEC-medicated salt, which are all part of the APELF, will be deployed to strengthen the country's LF elimination efforts.

The 10th GAELF meeting brings together various country programmes, three pharmaceutical companies (GSK, Eisai and MSD) that have donated drugs, non-governmental organizations, research organisations, donor governmental agencies, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The GAELF theme this year is 'Celebrating progress towards elimination: Voices from the field on overcoming programme challenges'. Programme managers and senior ministerial personnel from all LF endemic countries will discuss experiences, challenges and current needs at the meeting.

Eleven countries - Cambodia, Cook Islands, Egypt, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Niue, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu - were awarded at the meeting today for eliminating LF as a public health concern.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, India, Ashwini Kumar Choubey reiterated the need to address one of the major challenges - compliance to treatment. He said it is crucial to encourage the community to consume preventive medicines given out during MDA.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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