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Nadda inaugurates 10th 'Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis' meet in Delhi

Our Bureau, New Delhi
Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 16:15 Hrs  [IST]

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Union health minister JP Nadda inaugurated the 10th meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF) in New Delhi today. The minister launched India’s Accelerated Plan for Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination (APELF) on the occasion.
Acknowledging that the country’s lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination programme needs a push, Nadda said strategies such as the triple drug therapy or IDA -- ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine and albendazole -- which are part of the APELF, will be deployed to strengthen the country’s LF elimination efforts.

The 10th GAELF meeting brings together various country programmes, three pharmaceutical companies -- GSK, Eisai and MSD -- that have donated drugs, non-governmental and research organisations, donor governmental agencies and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The GAELF theme for this year is ‘Celebrating progress towards elimination: Voices from the field on overcoming programme challenges’. Programme managers and senior ministerial personnel from all LF endemic countries will discuss experiences, challenges and current needs at the meeting. Eleven countries -- Cambodia, Cook Islands, Egypt, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Niue, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu -- were awarded at the meeting for eliminating LF as a public health concern.

Dr Karen Cummings, the minister within ministry of public health, Guyana, was present at the inaugural session. Echoing the call from Deputy Director-General (Programmes), WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who addressed the gathering through a video message, to combine efforts, Cummings said Guyana would work together with regional and international partners in research for vector control and acceptability of mass drug administration (MDA) for LF elimination.

Minister of state for health and family welfare, India, Ashwini Kumar Choubey reiterated the need to address compliance with treatment, one of the major challenges. He said it is crucial to encourage the community to consume preventive medicines given out during MDA. Greater community participation, enhanced programme delivery and direct observation of treatment were also highlighted by GALEF Chair Dr Charles Mackenzie.

Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava spoke about the ICMR study results that showed the safety and efficacy of IDA and its roll-out in a phased manner in Varanasi, Nagpur, Arwal and Simdega soon.

 

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