HPA to Conduct Countrywide Filariasis Screening
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced plans to launch a nationwide campaign to screen the entire country for Lymphatic Filariasis (Filaria) disease, scheduled to commence next Friday.
In a statement released by HPA, it was disclosed that the comprehensive screening initiative aims to assess the prevalence of Filariasis among both Maldivians and expatriates, in collaboration with the Red Crescent, hospitals, health centers, and councils.
The screening programme is set to cover all inhabited islands, select resorts, and industrial islands.
HPA clarified that a random selection of a limited number of Maldivians and expatriates from each island will undergo screening. Diagnosis of an active Filariasis infection will be conducted using an antigen test performed on a blood sample, with results available within 10-15 minutes.
The designated teams will begin sample collection visits next Friday from 1600 hrs to 2100 hrs.
Employers of expatriate workers will be engaged to facilitate their participation in the screening process. Additionally, HPA has outlined plans to conduct pre-test procedures for the screening programme in a specified area in Hulhumale’.
Assurance of treatment under the supervision of healthcare workers is provided for individuals testing positive for Filariasis. The prescribed medication not only treats symptomatic patients but also aids in preventing further transmission of the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the containment of Filariasis disease in the Maldives in 2016, with Sri Lanka being the only other country in the region to have achieved similar success.
However, during a random screening conducted in Haa Dhaalu Atoll Kulhudhuffushi last December, a few expatriates were identified as carrying the Filariasis disease, coinciding with International Aids Day celebrations.
Presently, 700 individuals have undergone Filariasis testing, with 32 individuals testing positive for the infection.