On October 30, 2019 the Union minister of Health & Family Welfare(HWF), Science and technology and earth sciences, Shri Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the National symposium under the theme “United to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis”, in-order to eliminate the disease, in New Delhi. During the event, Shri Vardhan also signed ‘Call to Action to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 2021’ with the govt’s commitment to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis from 2021.
i.Lymphatic Filariasis comes under Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which kills 1.5 billion people globally. The health ministry is committed to eliminating two of the NTDs which are Lymphatic Filariasis (Hathipaon) and Leishmaniases (Kala-Azar).
ii.Triple Drug Therapy: India is also about to use Triple Drug Therapy of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine and albendazole(IDA) drugs in a phased manner from November 2019. This triple drug therapy is also recommended by World Health Organisation(WHO) to globally eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis. Various states in India have benefitted with IDA medicines.
iii.Global program: The WHO launched Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) in 2000 where India adopted twin pillar strategy like prevention through mass drug administration(MDA) and providing Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP). India also launched Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (APELF) in 2018 to eliminate the disease.
iv.Members present: Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary of the health & welfare ministry and other delegates were present in the event and have also signed the ‘Call to Action to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 2021’. Also present at the event were Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurvedic, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), senior officers of, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and United Nations(UN) Organisations.
About health ministry:
- Formed- 1976.
- Headquarters- New Delhi.
- Minister of State(MoS)- Ashwini Kumar Choubey.
About Lymphatic Filariasis:
- LF disease is caused mainly by Wuchereria Bancrofti, a human parasitic worm and spread by Culex mosquitoes.
- The infection is usually acquired in childhood, causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system.