Samoa's Filariasis fight gets Japan aid

By Shalveen Chand 17 November 2022, 7:00AM

Samoa’s fight to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis or Elephantiasis gets underway next year with a planned Mass Drug Administration for the population and this was boosted with help from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Tuesday.

JICA handed over essential resources and equipment worth $15,576 to the Ministry of Health (MOH). JICA Resident Representative, Yumiko Asakuma, presented the items to Nurse Manager Fa’atafa E’etau.

The items were successfully procured under the Regional Technical Cooperation by JICA, called the “Project for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis”.

The Ministry is scheduled to conduct a nation-wide Mass Drug Administration (MDA) early next year, which will see health officials visiting homes and schools to administer drugs that prevents transmission of lymphatic filariasis, to the eligible population.

MOH said donated items will play a very vital role in the mobilization plan of activities and the actual roll-out in the year 2023.

According to MOH, a very small percentage of the population in Samoa carries the disease. For a little over three years, the Ministry was unable to roll out its MDA due to the back-to-back measle outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic. 

The MDA as scheduled for next year is expected to disrupt transmission and reduce the health risk of the nation from lymphatic filariasis. 

Lymphatic filariasis is a human disease caused by parasitic worms known as filarial worms and can spread from person to person by mosquitoes. Most cases of the disease have no symptoms. Some people, however, develop a syndrome called elephantiasis, which is marked by severe swelling in the arms, legs, breasts, and genitals. 

The skin may become thicker as well, and the condition may become painful. It is reported that the disease is a leading cause of permanent disability worldwide. 


By Shalveen Chand 17 November 2022, 7:00AM
Samoa Observer

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