Guyana on its way to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, through the Mass Drug Administration Campaign

MDA launch

Georgetown, Guyana, 5 July 2024 – The Ministry of Health, Guyana, with the support of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) launched the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign 2024 today at the Carmel Secondary School, Georgetown. Present were, Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Health, Guyana, Dr. Annastacia Sampson, Coordinator, Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) Elimination Campaign, Dr. Gavinash Persaud, Regional Health Officer, Region 4, Dr. Erica Forte, Regional Health Officer Region 3, Mr.  Daniel Albrecht, PAHO/WHO Representative, a.i Guyana, and Mr. Traves Ellis, Councillor, Albouystown.

At-risk populations in two regions in Guyana will be treated for lymphatic filariasis (LF) over the next two weeks in a bid to eliminate the disease as a public health problem.

The first round of MDA using the triple drug regimen IDA (ivermectin plus DEC and Albendazole) in Guyana was implemented in 2019, followed by a  second round of the same regimen in 2021. This year 2024 would be the third round for the implementation of the IDA/MDA. The two-weeks exercise will see health workers and volunteers visiting homes, workplaces and schools in two regions (3 and 4) to administer the pills.

Treatment for lymphatic filariasis
Triple drug regimen IDA (ivermectin plus DEC and Albendazole)

Dr. Annastacia Sampson provided a brief technical note on the previous status report of the 2021 filaria campaign and the successes of each region.  

Mr. Daniel Albrecht, PAHO/WHO Representative a.i Guyana, said the country is one step closer to eliminating lymphatic filariasis. “Guyana is undoubtedly a leading force in public health in the Region of the Americas. More than the infrastructure transformation that we have been witnessing over the past few years, the Ministry of Health of Guyana has been the first to champion integrated disease elimination and among the few to have taken concrete steps to reinforce its commitment to the One Health approach, Pandemic Preparedness and Response, and increased access to essential health services. So, when you visit communities to distribute the pills, you are convincing each household that they are participating in this exercise for their families and their country.”

Mr. Albrecht went on to state that PAHO is encouraged to support the Ministry in developing a health system to build a healthy nation.

Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Health Guyana, said that Guyana is set to eliminate several infectious diseases.  If we minimize the number of infectious diseases we must deal with, we will have the resources to deal with other current issues.  

“In Guyana we have five neglected infectious diseases (NIDs), and our agenda is to eliminate all five of them, including  leprosy and Lymphatic filariasis. With  effective interventions like the MDA, they will no longer be a public health concern,” said Dr. Frank Anthony.

Launching event.
Dr, Frank Anthony, Minister of Health taking his filaria pills

Minister Anthony also said that seven hundred pill distributors were trained who will be a part of the campaign. He said once we put our best efforts together, a couple years from now we can confidently say that we have eliminated filaria. He thanked the support of PAHO/WHO and other officials while urging the public to participate to not only protect themselves but their families from filaria.

At the end of the program, Mr. Daniel Albrecht, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, and other attendees endorsed the filaria MDA campaign by taking their filaria pills.

Trained pill distributors
Ivermectin plus DEC and Albendazole
People taking the treatment for lymphatic filariasis
Launching event. Photo of participants.
Launch of the Mass Drug Administration 2024