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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1369-1370
Elimination target for lymphatic filariasis attained in Sri Lanka and Maldives: World health organization


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Elimination target for lymphatic filariasis attained in Sri Lanka and Maldives: World health organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1369-70

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Elimination target for lymphatic filariasis attained in Sri Lanka and Maldives: World health organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Nov 20];10:1369-70. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1369/196626


Dear Sir,

Lymphatic filariasis is one of the neglected tropical diseases, threatening the lives of more than 1.1 billion people spread across 55 nations.[1] The condition generally accounts for chronic morbidities, disabilities, disfigurement, and even causes mental, social, and financial losses resulting in poverty, social stigma, and the gradual withdrawal of the affected person from the community.[1],[2] Even though, the condition tends to affect the poor and the vulnerable sections of society, the condition is completely preventable by implementation of the recommended measures.[2]

In fact, realizing the magnitude of the disease, the impact that it casts on the lives of the affected individual and the families, the burden on the health system, and its preventability, the World Health Organization, in the year 2000, set the target for its global elimination by the year 2020.[1],[2] Achieving elimination of the disease has been based on the two-pronged strategy of the administration of the large-scale preventive chemotherapy (single dose of albendazole with ivermectin/diethylcarbamazine citrate) annually to an entire at-risk population, and minimizing the suffering attributed to the disease through strengthening of the morbidity management and disability prevention activities.[1]

The global estimates suggest that since 2000, almost 5.6 billion treatments have been administered and the risk of transmission has reduced by 43%, with almost 315 million people no longer in the need of the preventive chemotherapy to stop the disease transmission.[1]

As a mark of making definitive progress, two nations, Sri Lanka and Maldives from the South-East Asian region, have been validated for the elimination of the disease.[3] Owing to the fact that the disease was endemic in these nations even before the 12th century and has crippled the lives of people for centuries together, accomplishment of this feat is a clear indication of the commitment of the national stakeholders to ensure that no one is left behind and services are extended to all the vulnerable groups of people in an attempt to improve their health standards.[3]

Moreover, the real reason for the success was the dedication of the team of health workers and active participation and involvement of the community in implementing intensive mosquito control strategies, extending appropriate treatment of the infected people, disability prevention and control activities, strengthening of surveillance, and supporting the other components with monitoring and evaluation in both the nations.[2],[3] However, more than 70 nations across the world are still endemic for the disease.[1],[3]

Furthermore, the epidemiological distribution of the disease also suggests that there is an immense need to implement enhanced strategies in about 28 nations to achieve elimination targets by the set time limits.[1]

In addition, there is a need to deploy effective methods to ascertain the elimination status in a region through transmission assessment surveys or molecular xenomonitoring, adopt effective strategies such as targeting school children as they are often affected from the disease, and significantly improve the morbidities management.[2],[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, achieving elimination of lymphatic filariasis in Maldives and Sri Lanka is a remarkable achievement on the regional front; nevertheless, intensification of efforts is required if the international stakeholders aim to replicate the results on the global scale and achieve elimination targets by 2020.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization Lymphatic filariasis – Fact sheet; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs102/en/. [Last Accessed on 2016 Jun 5].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Rao RU, Nagodavithana KC, Samarasekera SD, Wijegunawardana AD, Premakumara WD, Perera SN. A comprehensive assessment of lymphatic filariasis in Sri Lanka six years after cessation of mass drug administration. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2014;8:e3281-  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health OrganizationMaldives and Sri Lanka eliminate lymphatic filariasis; 2016. Available from: http://www.searo.who.int/mediacentre/releases/2016/1626/en/. [Last Accessed on 2016 Jun 10].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Rao RU, Samarasekera SD, Nagodavithana KC, Punchihewa MW, Dassanayaka TD, P K D G. Programmatic use of molecular xenomonitoring at the level of evaluation units to assess persistence of lymphatic filariasis in Sri Lanka. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016;10:e0004722-  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Gunawardena S, Gunawardena NK, Kahathuduwa G, Karunaweera ND, de Silva NR, Ranasinghe UB. Integrated school-based surveillance for soil-transmitted helminth infections and lymphatic filariasis in Gampaha district, Sri Lanka. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2014;90:661-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
    

Top
Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur–Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196626

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