Jharkhand has emerged the best performer in India in compliance of Triple Drug Therapy (TDT) for combating Lymphatic Filariasis, a mosquito-borne disease, which is the second largest cause of disability across the world. The State bagged the top position in a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), which found that the compliance rate for TDT in Jharkhand’s Simdega district was 90.78 per cent, officials from State Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (SVBDCP) said on Wednesday.
The TDT for Lymphatic Filariasis was launched across five States–Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and Karnataka–in India in 2019. Each of the States was asked to implement the TDT in one district. “Our compliance rate was 90.78 per cent while the second best compliance rate was only 60 per cent, achieved by Maharashtra. The gap between us and the second best performers also shows the amount of hard work we have put in during the campaign here,” said Dr. Vijay Nath Khanna, In-Charge of SVBDCP.
Lymphatic Filariasis, commonly called Elephantiasis or Hathipaon, is a disease acquired during childhood. However, it may manifest even during adulthood, causing temporary or permanent deformities in the body. To eliminate it, a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign recommended by WHO was followed in the State. According to figures with the State Health Department, the disease was found to be endemic in at least 17 of 24 districts here. As per figures calculated in March 2019, the State had 33,221 patients of Lymphatic Filariasis.
With a tribal population of 71 per cent, Simdega was selected for the TDT in Jharkhand, which had no prior experience of running an MDA campaign, health officials said. The campaign was started January 14 this year and the results were encouraging, they added. The campaign was run here in collaboration with the Deputy Commissioner and various district level health officials at the grass root level. Anganwadi workers, Sahiyas and School Management Committees (SMCs) were also roped in for effective implementation of the campaign. Besides, door to door drug administration was also done, officials involved in the campaign said.
“Simdega became the first district in the country to successfully execute the TDT for eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis. It has set a great example for the rest of the country,” said Health Secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni.
The WHO reviewed the performance of all the five states on Monday and came out with the results. Khanna said that the campaign will soon also be run in other districts of Jharkhand for elimination of the disease. Lymphatic Filariasis, according to WHO, is a serious public health concern in at least five union territories and 16 states, including Jharkhand, in India.