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Elimination of lymphatic filariasis: current perspectives on mass drug administration

Authors Gyapong JO, Owusu IO, da-Costa Vroom FB, Mensah EO, Gyapong M

Received 24 July 2017

Accepted for publication 21 October 2017

Published 6 March 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 25—33

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RRTM.S125204

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Unnasch


John O Gyapong,1 Irene O Owusu,2 Frances B da-Costa Vroom,3 Ernest O Mensah,4 Margaret Gyapong5

1Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases Research, Institute of Health Research, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, 2Department of Epidemiology, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, 3Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, 4Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, 5Centre for Health Policy and Implementation Research, Institute of Health Research, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana

Abstract: Following the London declaration on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in 2012 and inspired by the WHO 2020 roadmap to control or eliminate NTDs, the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) intensified preventive chemotherapy and management of morbidity as the two main strategies to enhance progress towards the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF). This paper focuses on current perspectives of mass drug administration (MDA) towards the elimination of LF. The goal of MDA is to reduce the density of parasites circulating in the blood of infected persons and the intensity of infection in communities to levels where transmission is no longer sustainable by the mosquito vector. Three drugs, diethylcarbamazine, albendazole, and ivermectin are currently available for LF treatment, and their effectiveness and relative safety have opened the possibility of treating the entire population at risk. Currently, almost all LF endemic countries rely on the single-dose two-drug regimen recommended by the GPELF to achieve elimination. The 4th WHO report on NTDs has indicated that considerable progress has been made towards elimination of LF in some countries while acknowledging some challenges. In this review, we conclude that the 2020 elimination goal can be achieved if issues pertaining to the drug distribution, health system and implementation challenges are addressed.

Keywords: mass drug administration, disease elimination, lymphatic filariasis, neglected tropical diseases, community health worker, treatment compliance

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