National

Three percent of Kanchanpur folks infected with elephantiasis

- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Feb 20, 2019-

Around three percent of the total population in Kanchanpur district were found to be suffering from Lymphatic Filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, according to a study conducted by the District Public Health in the last fiscal year.

Six years ago, elephantiasis was found in 20 percent of the total population in the district. To control the spread of the disease, a drug administration campaign was launched in the district in 2013. Authorities had aimed to reduce the number of patients to one percent by 2019.

As the target was not met, the campaign has been extended to two more years in Kanchanpur. The government has been launching Mass Drugs Administration Programme to reduce the number of elephantiasis patients in the affected districts. According to the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Ministry of Health and Population, the campaign to administer Diethy-lcarbamasine and Albe-ndazole tablets to counter the disease is being launched in two phases in the affected areas.

“We plan to administer the drug to 90 percent of people within 2019. Volunteers and health workers have been mobilised accordingly,” said Hemraj Joshi, the Kit Control Officer of the Regional Health Directorate.

Authorities have planned to administer the drug in Kanchanpur from February 27. In Sudurpaschim, the campaign started in 2013, but the disease is yet to be controlled in Kailali and Kanchanpur. The campaign is still being conducted in 15 Tarai districts along with Kailali and Kanchanpur. The area is said to free from elephantiasis when the number of infected reaches below one percent, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Elephantiasis is the second major infectious disease after leprosy to cause a permanent and long-term disability in the country. According to a study carried out across 37 districts in 2003, elephantiasis affected 13 percent of the total population of Nepal. The disease is caused by small, threadlike parasitic worms spread by Culex female mosquitoes. These worms prosper in the human lymphatic system and cause the swelling of arms, legs, head, genitals or breasts.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), elephantiasis has affected 40 million people in 83 countries. Of the affected, one-third are in Africa and India each, while the rest are in other parts of South Asia. The WHO has made a worldwide commitment to eliminate the disease by 2020.

Published: 20-02-2019 08:15

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