Efforts to Support the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis at Yarada Village in India
Eisai took up the challenging task of adopting Yarada village as part of our human health care (hhc) activities to accelerate the elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) by the year 2020. Yarada village is located by the sea shore of Visakhapatnam with a total population of around 3,500 near Eisai’s Vizag drug manufacturing factory (Vizag factory) in India. The Vizag factory produces a wide range of pharmaceutical products including diethylcarbamazine (DEC), which is used in the treatment of LF.
The state government has tried to carry out preventive measures to improve the public health of the village, however they have experienced difficulties due to lack of awareness among the community, poor drainage systems and socioeconomic factors in the village. Eisai stepped in when the state government was looking for an able partner who would support their efforts in Yarada village. Impressed by our hhc mission, the state government accepted Eisai’s offer to support their Vector Borne Diseases Control activities at Yarada village for a period of 1 year in co-ordination with the Health Department.
Improving the health of the village begins with the environment and infrastructure. Many of the initial health problems are caused by poor sanitation and an environment that is conducive to mosquito breeding. We assisted with the anti-larval operations of the government by providing Eisai staff to ensure that anti-larval chemicals are sprayed regularly especially in the water logged areas of the village and open drains. We also helped with drain cleaning activities in Yarada village to improve sanitation. Eisai staff from the Vizag factory in India visit the village even on weekends to monitor the sanitation activities, and help to repair the old public toilets so they can be effectively used by the villagers. In the future, we will also plant mosquito repellant plants near homes and open drains to help prevent mosquito breeding.
The next step is to educate the people so that they can understand the risks and measures to take care of themselves. As part of our hhc activities, Eisai staff educate the villagers about taking precautions for vector borne diseases, improving their hygiene and disposing of waste properly. We also participate in the campaigns conducted by the government to create awareness among the people, especially the children, so that they can educate other members in the family. Furthermore, in preparation for the mass drug administration (MDA) campaign, we went to the rural areas in the late evening, announcing the campaign through “Dandora”, which involves the beating of drums to request participation from the villagers, and this was done for three days before the MDA program.
With the effectiveness of MDA programs maximized through education and improved infrastructure, Eisai staff then participated in the MDA programs conducted by the state health department and took extra effort in going to each of the homes, ensuring that all people in the village took the combination of DEC and albendazole tablets. Morbidity kits were also provided to patients in need.
We also supported the sentinel survey conducted by the state health department for screening the patients for Wuchereria bancrofti (a type of parasitic worm which causes LF). No new cases of LF were identified from the last sentinel survey.
We adopted Yarada village in October 2013, and at the end of two years we would like to see improvement in the quality of life of the villagers through the measures we have taken to improve sanitation and create awareness about vector borne diseases.