Swwapnil Joshi is brand ambassador for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Jan 2019 10:07:11


Staff Reporter,

Nagpur among five State cities selected for mass drug administration

Maharashtra Government has named popular Marathi actor Swwapnil Joshi as the official ‘Brand Ambassador for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)’ in the state. He will kick-start Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in Nagpur from January 20. The popular actor will help raise awareness about Lymphatic Filariasis (Hatti Rog) and the government’s efforts to eliminate the disease from Maharashtra. The Government has set the goal to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 2020 and this is among the pressing priorities for the World Health Organization – South-East Asian Region. Countries across the world have committed to achieve global elimination of LF by 2020 with the support of a massive global drug donation programme.

In India, the office of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme has reinvigorated its decade-old elimination programme with a new drug regime (Triple Drug Therapy), and a new program logo and tagline – ‘Surakshit Dawa, Bharosa Swasthya Ka’.

The government distributes free-of-cost preventive medicines for filariasis every year through Mass Drug Administration (MDA), but a large section of the population does not consume the medicines because of lack of awareness about their benefits. Swwapnil, who has been shooting for awareness videos for the upcoming MDA round in Nagpur on January 20, said, “The time has come to make this ancient scourge history. And I am honoured to be able to contribute to this cause. Hatti Rog is an entirely preventable disease. I hope to play my part in changing the situation by encouraging people to have the government-administered medicines.”

Impact of Lymphatic Filariasis

Filariasis wreaks havoc on the bodies and minds of those affected, incapacitating them in the prime of life. Over 31 million people in India are estimated to be infected with filariasis and over 29 million suffer from disability associated with the disease. As of 2017, Maharashtra recorded 65,155 cases of filariasis. Disability caused by Lymphatic Filariasis prevents the affected from working and providing for their families. In fact, on an average, a person suffering from filariasis loses one month of income every year. Youngsters with filariasis often drop out of schools and colleges. Many avoid seeking treatment for fear of drawing attention to their condition, and often slip into depression.

The Government of Maharashtra, under the National Program for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis, will undertake Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in Nagpur from January 20. This MDA round will also mark the roll-out of the new Triple Drug Therapy (or IDA) to accelerate LF elimination efforts. Under the IDA, a third drug called Ivermectin will be added to the usual combination of two drugs- Diethylcarbamazine Citrate (DEC) and Albendazole.