November 10, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation in collaboration with its partners yesterday commenced mass drug administration of Lymphatic Filariasis known as ‘Big Fut’ in the Western Area.
The mass drug administration will target a total number of 1, 603,993 and will run until Monday, 13 November with mobile teams visiting people in their localities to administer the vaccine. A total of 131 Peripheral Health Units will be used for the treatment of the disease during the campaign, officials say.
According to Programme Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr Yakuba Madina Bah, children under five years, pregnant women and those with serious illnesses are exempt from taking the treatment.
Dr. Bah described ‘big fut’ as a disease that will lead to disfigurement, poverty and backwardness, adding that according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000, over one hundred and twenty million people were affected by Lymphatic Filariasis (Big Fut) with about forty Million already disfigured.
In the case of Sierra Leone, Dr Bah stated that the disease is all over the country although there has been significant progress over the years which has seen a rapid decline in the prevalence of the disease.
He disclosed that when a transmission assessment survey was carried out some time this year, eight out of the twelve districts were free of the disease while Kailahun, Bombali, Koinadugu and Kenema districts failed the assessment.
Program Coordinator for Neglected Tropical Diseases at Helen Keller International, Jusufu Paye, urged Sierra Leoneans to make themselves available for treatment, and thanked the media for their support to the campaign over the years.
In a Power Point presentation on the disease, Gandi Kallon from the Health Ministry said the campaign to eradicate the disease has been on-going for over five years, especially in slums communities although very little has changed in some of the communities.
“Lymphatic Filariasis is a disease spread by mosquitos and it symptoms include fever, head ache and big breast. I am calling on everyone above five years of age to take the treatment,” he urged.