Sarangani filariasis free, says DOH

22 Jan 2016
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ALABEL, Sarangani (January 22, 2016) - The Department of Health (DOH) has declared Sarangani free from the Lymphatic Filariasis disease by the end of 2015.

In a notice to DOH Region 12, Health Undersecretary Vicente Belizario Jr. said Sarangani has “achieved the elimination of filariasis as a public health problem under the disease free zone initiative.”

Filariasis, or also known as elephantiasis, is a mosquito-borne disease that results to the enlargement of body parts commonly affecting feet and legs.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Arvin Alejandro said a DOH team will be coming to Sarangani in March for the official declaration.

Alejandro said the elimination of Sarangani from the list of endemic provinces was based on the result of the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) and transmission assessment survey conducted in October last year.

By rule, he said, endemic provinces should at least conduct five MDAs every year with at least 85 percent accomplishment obtained. According to Alejandro, Sarangani has passed these criteria.

The survey last year was performed by a joint team of technical personnel from DOH, local government unit and Department of Education to the primary school entrants who were described by Alejandro as the vulnerable members of the community.

The DOH clarified based on World Health Organization guidelines that Sarangani had passed the assessment survey critical cut-off. Hence, it was delisted from the endemic provinces in the country.

The DOH advised the PHO to stop the MDA starting 2016 but recommended to implement a selective treatment for those found positive.

Alejandro said the PHO will still be dispensing starting end of January to last week of February the drug supplies for 2015 that were held pending the result of last year’s survey.

The DOH also advised “to strengthen surveillance for filariasis especially in all borders of other endemic provinces where elimination has not been achieved yet.”

In Sarangani, assessment survey will still be conducted yearly to monitor the incidence of filariasis. (Beverly C. Paoyon / SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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