Tuesday, 7 February, 2023

Nepal to administer Ivermectin drug against elephantiasis


Kathmandu, Mar. 1: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has decided to administer the Ivermectin drug for the first time along with diethylcarbamazine and albendazole, to control lymphatic filariasis in ten districts of the country from March 12.  

According to Chuman Lal Das, Director at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), MoHP has been planning to launch a mass drug administration campaign from March 12 in 10 districts, that have the highest infection rate of the disease.

He said, “Ivermectin along with diethylcarbamazine and albendazole drugs will be provided to the people of the Kapillvastu, Dang, Banke, Kailali, and Morang districts. Whereas, diethylcarbamazine and albendazole drugs will be administered in Jhapa, Bara, Lamjung, Baglung, and Parbat districts.

“It is the second major infectious disease after leprosy that caused permanent and long term disability in Nepal.", He said, “The government has introduced ivermectin for the first time in the country in an attempt to contain elephantiasis despite having administered diethylcarbamazine and albendazole over 13 years.”

According to Ministry, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will supply all the drugs that are ivermectin along with diethylcarbamazine and albendazole.

The government started a mass drug administration program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis in 2003. People above five years of age are given diethylcarbamazine and albendazole in suspect of elephantiasis.

Despite the commitment to eliminate lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem by 2020, the target was not achieved therefore the deadline has been extended to 2030.