Samoa first country in world to roll out triple-drug regimen against filariasis

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With the completion of the annual mass treatment of the entire eligible population, Samoa has become the first country in the world to implement the new triple-drug regimen recommended by WHO for the treatment of lymphatic filariasis (LF).

They were administered IDA, which is a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine and albendazole.

A mosquito-borne neglected tropical disease,  lymphatic filariasis causes damage to the lymphatic system and can lead to disabling and disfiguring lymphoedema (elephantiasis) and hydrocele in infected individuals.

The disease, endemic in 72 countries, causes hydrocele in 25 million men and lymphoedema in over 15 million people.

More than 1500 community health workers and youth groups are involved in the Mass Drug Administration campaign that took place.

The guidelines on alternative mass drug administration (MDA) regimens to eliminate filariasis was published by the World Health Organisation last year.

Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Niue, Tonga and Vanuatu are among the Pacific Island nations that have eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem.

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