Monrovia, June 23, 2022: The management and treatment of any disease is critical to prevent outbreaks and ensure positive treatment outcomes. Liberia is known to be endemic to schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis, which affects most of the population; with the risk being higher in children. However, the country has made great strides and is moving towards controlling these diseases. In addition to preventive measures, it is important that cases are treated early to achieve high treatment success rate. In continued efforts to ensure the government of Liberia is prepared to respond to vector borne infections such as Schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis, the World Health Organization (WHO) in Liberia with support from the WHO African Regional Office and HQ, today donated 2,512,000 tablets of praziquantel and 12,450 testing strips for Filariasis to the Ministry of Health in Liberia. These supplies will be distributed to 9 counties that have been earmarked due to their high prevalence rates in lymphatic disease mostly targeting school- going children. However, in 4 counties namely Bong, Nimba, Maryland and Lofa which have over 50% prevalence of schistosomiasis, both adults and school-going children will be targeted. It is estimated that at least 2 million children and adults will benefit from this consignment. These medications and testing kits are donated as part of the global fight to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.
“I recently attended a Regional meeting on organized by WHO in Brazzaville where elimination and eradication of vector borne diseases were highlighted. I am therefore delighted that this assistance comes in timely. In addition to the technical support that WHO provides to the country, you also provide the means of getting things done”, said Dr Francis Keteh, the Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Medical officer, Republic of Liberia during the handover event. This assistance will go a long way in preventing preventable illnesses and deaths among the Liberian people. “Thank you WHO- our trusted and dependable partner in health”, said Mr Keteh.
“The medication and supplies will be distributed to 9 counties targeting school going children with an exception of the 4 counties Bong, Lofa, Maryland and Nimba, where adults as well will be targeted and this donation is in line with the global fight to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. We remain committed to this cause”, said Dr Peter Clement- WHO Representative in Liberia.
WHO’s work on schistosomiasis and filariasis is part of an integrated approach in the control of neglected tropical diseases.
Working with partners including the private sector, WHO continues to advocate for increased access to praziquantel and test kits to curb such infections. A significant amount of praziquantel, to treat more than 100 million children globally of the school age every year, has been pledged by the private sector and development partners and Liberia is a beneficiary of the arrangement.