India is embarking on another of the largest mass drug administration in history against lymphatic filariasis (LF), also called elephantiasis or filaria, a painful, disfiguring neglected tropical disease (NTD).
Just a decade ago, 600 million people in India were at risk of infection. But now the government is poised to eliminate LF from the country in just two years -- if its efforts to reach every community at risk succeed.
Approximately 300 million people are expected to take an annual dose of preventive medicine. To eliminate the disease, entire communities must be treated annually. The medicine, DEC and albendazole, is safe and effective. But treatment compliance remains a major challenge in reaching a filaria-free India. Educating communities most at risk about the importance of taking the medication is a critical component of any NTD program.
India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare worked with the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Ogilvy and Little Lamb Productions to produce a video and promotional materials. Hathipaon Mukt Bharat (Filaria Free India) or Giant Footprints! shows the seriousness of LF and the importance of taking preventive medication.
This video supports the government’s massive effort to deliver medication to high-risk communities in 17 states.
Of the more than a billion people in the world affected by NTDs, more than a third live in India. Global efforts to eliminate LF and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) rely on India's success.
NTDs such as LF trap families in poverty by preventing children from going to school and adults from working. Fighting NTDs is one of the most effective health and anti-poverty efforts that will drive growth and development in India. The Filaria Free India campaign will help build the momentum necessary to control and eliminate NTDs in India, paving the way for a more prosperous future.
India is on the verge of a significant public health victory – eliminating this debilitating NTD. Show your support by sharing the video today.