Freetown, Oct. 7, 2015 (MOHS) – The Mass drug administration for the prevention and control of Lymphatic Filiariasis “Big Fut” will commence on Friday October 9, 2015 targeting over 1.4 million people above the age of five years in the western area. The campaign is to be officially launched at the Wilberforce Community Health Centre by His Worship the Mayor of Freetown.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing held at the Ministry’s conference hall in Freetown, the Manager, National Tropical Neglected Diseases Programme, Dr. Yakuba Madina Bah said Lymphatic Filiariasis (Big Fut) is endemic in the whole country and caused by the anopheles mosquito. He maintained that the same mosquito that transmits malaria is the same mosquito that transmits Lymphatic Filiariasis (Big Fut).
The transmission, Dr. Bah said, occurs when the mosquito bites someone with the disease and later infects other people, adding that the parasite stays in the person for up to 10-15 years without showing any signs and symptoms.
He said the service is free of cost and encouraged the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity by taking the drugs (Ivermectin and Abendazole) at the nearest distribution points.
Giving an overview of the campaign, the Public Health Sister, Western Area, Sister Aminata Nuni said Lymphatic Filiariasis is a paralytic disease caused by microscopic thread-like worms.
She said Lymphatic Filiariasis is a leading cause of permanent disability and community, and frequently disfigured men and women.
Sister Nuni encouraged communities to prevent Lymphatic Filiariasis by preventing themselves from mosquito bites, adding that sleeping under a mosquito net would help salvage the situation.
Pregnant women, children below five years of age, the critically sick, post-partum women within 2 weeks of delivery, and very elderly people are not allowed taking the medicines.
The Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Health and Sanitation and Chairman for the occasion Jonathan Abass Kamara spoke on the cultural belief and misconception in attributing the disease to witchcraft and underscored the importance of the media in educating communities, using the necessary information tool and expertise to raise awareness.