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Pilot treatment program for lymphatic filariasis launched in Papua New Guinea

September 11, 2014

The End Neglected Tropical Diseases (END) in Asia project is working to eradicate lymphatic filariasis and other debilitating diseases in Papua New Guinea. In New Ireland Province, the project recently piloted a mass drug administration (MDA), an administration of medicine to entire populations to eliminate disease in at-risk communities. The MDA was launched during a special ceremony in Kavieng on May 5, 2014, with officials from the provincial government, the National Department of Health, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea.

Immediately after the ceremony, trained village volunteers began a mass distribution of two drugs to communities throughout the province. Supervisors, local health managers and other staff provided oversight to ensure that as many people as possible receive the appropriate treatment. Written reports from each volunteer are being compiled in preparation for a post-MDA workshop in which an official report will be presented, the overall quality of the MDA will be assessed and planning for the next round of MDA will begin.

Neglected tropical diseases affect the health of more than 1 billion people worldwide. FHI 360’s END in Asia project has strengthened government programs that have treated more than 105.3 million people since 2013 for some of the most prevalent tropical diseases. The project works in six Asian countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam. The project has resulted in immediate improvements in health, especially among children, and major reductions in disease transmission. END in Asia is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.