Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, three year ahead of global target: Mandaviya

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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday called for eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis three years ahead of the global target through the five-pronged roadmap by 2027.

Mandaviya was speaking at the National Symposium on India’s Roadmap to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today. Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog was also present at the event. Four States – UP, Odisha, Telangana, and Bihar – account for 60 per cent Lymphedema cases, while four States – Odisha, Jharkhand, UP and Bihar – account for ~80% Hydrocele cases.

“For India, Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is not a neglected disease as may be the case in some other countries, but a priority disease for elimination in a time bound manner. India is committed to eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the global target through mission mode, multi partner, multi sector, targeted drive for which we have drawn up the roadmap”, said Mandaviya.

Reiterating India’s resolve to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis in a time bound manner, Mandaviya emphasized that despite the diverse geographical and social-economic dimensions of India, every region and partner has its strengths, which we aim to harness as we move ahead with an endgame strategy. India has demonstrated to the world that we can be Polio free through Jan-Bhagidari.

Mandaviya said that we have come up with a renewed five-pronged strategy for elimination that includes Multi-drug administration (MDA) Campaign twice a year,  Early diagnosis and treatment, Integrated Vector Control with multi sectoral coordinated efforts, Inter sectoral convergence with allied departments and Leveraging existing digital platforms for LF and exploring alternate diagnostics.

“Lymphatic Filariasis elimination calls for the same approach where various Ministries, Departments across the Centre and States, NGOs, private sector through CSR, faith leaders, community influencers etc., come together in a spirit of Sewa and Sahyog. Let us have our own ‘India Model’ based on identification of our priorities and leveraging our strengths to efficiently implement our plans”, he added.

Reiterating India’s philosophy of Antyodaya, Dr. VK Paul said that Lymphatic Filariasis affects specific geographies and mostly poor and downtrodden section of our society. Appreciating timely and re-energized intervention by the government, he said that the morbidity backlog needs to be cleared as soon as possible and urged for innovative practices to reach remotest parts of the country through special camps, private sector and development partners involvement for effective mitigation. 

He also pushed for concurrent research through which local evidence-based decision making can take place and mass visibility campaigns at the national, state, district, sub-district and block levels.