Over 100 trained to roll out filaria impact survey

The scheduled implementation of the 2023 Ivermectin, Diethylcarbamazine and Albendazole (IDA) Impact Survey (IIS) to confirm Guyana’s Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) infection status will be conducted by over 100 trained field agents.
The Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Task Force for Global Health (TFGH), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), conducted a week-long in-person training in preparation for the survey.
The survey is to confirm that the Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) infection status has been reduced to a level where it can be considered as no longer a public health issue in Guyana and subsequently continue with other key activities towards certification of its elimination in the country.
Some 130 participants were selected and trained on the concepts, methods, and tools to implement IIS in Guyana, which will roll out in February and April. The team also implemented a two-day pilot in a selected location in Central Georgetown to conduct validation of the sampling procedures and survey questions, laboratory testing, data entry, estimation of the duration of the data collection, and to understand, detect, and prevent imminent challenges that could arise during the fieldwork.
PAHO shared that Guyana is one of four countries in the Region of the Americas where LF caused by Wuchereria bancrofti is still endemic. In 2018, based on the evidence of the effectiveness and safety of the IDA regimen, the Ministry of Health, Guyana, decided to use the triple medication in the eight endemic areas (implementation units, IUs).
“The upcoming IIS is the first in a series of surveys to assess LF transmission in the country. Guyana’s trailblazing efforts on LF elimination are part of its commitment to champion integrated disease elimination stated in its National Action Plan for Neglected Infectious Diseases 2022 – 2027,” PAHO stated.
Persons eligible to participate are adults aged 20 and over, and persons who have agreed to participate. They can assist by volunteering to be part of the survey, signing a consent letter and giving a finger prick sample to assess their current filaria status.
If a person decides to participate, they will be asked questions such as age, nationality and filaria mass drug administration participation after giving their consent. Thereafter, a prick will be given on the lesser used hand and a small amount of blood will be taken. This result will be ready within three days.
Individuals diagnosed with filaria will be given free treatment to get rid of the infection. Treatment will include Albendaole, DEC, and Ivermectin – tablets which kill young worms and sterilise adult worms. Results of the test will only be known to the individual and the principal investigator of the study. Samples will be processed using barcodes and stored in an encrypted electronic file.