Elephantiasis mass drug administration starts in Mwinilunga

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) commonly known as elephantiasis
Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) commonly known as elephantiasis

Health Authorities in Mwinilunga district have embarked on a 10-day door to door mass drug administration exercise for the Lymphatic Filariasis disease, popularly known as elephantiasis.


And the health authorities in the district have appealed to the residents to cooperate with medical teams during the exercise which kicks off today.

Acting district Medical Officer Rodrick Samungongi has confirmed to ZANIS in an interview in Mwinilunga today that the exercise will be conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health.


Mr Samungongi said the exercise will start today 24th June and end on 4th July, 2015.
Mr Samungongi said the preventive drug will be administered to
everyone above the age of two- years except for expectant mothers and
those chronically ill.


He assured the residents that there was no outbreak of the disease in the district adding that
government just wanted to protect its citizens from the ailment.

Mr Samungongi said the disease which is caused by a parasite and
transmitted from one individual to another through a mosquito bite,
takes about 20 years to manifest and was difficult to reverse.
The worm that causes elephantiasis also disturbs the flow of fluids in the legs and private parts, leaving victims with swollen body parts.


And Mr Samungongi said the benefits of the treatment was that it kills worms to
prevent progression of the disease while preventing other people who are not infected from getting it.


He said the preventive drugs also reduce the burden of intestinal
parasites hence further reducing the number of people who will be at risk of the infection in the future.


Meanwhile, more than 590,000 people in Kitwe on the Copperbelt have been administered with preventive drugs against elephantiasis during the week-long sensitisation programme which begun last week.
Kitwe medical officer Chikafuna Banda said the number of people captured represented a 97 per cent outreach from the targeted 612,000 residents adding that the exercise was done after it was discovered that Kitwe, among other districts on the Copperbelt, was endemic to elephantiasis.