Recently, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare launched a nationwide Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF).

Lymphatic filariasis: 

  • It is a human disease caused by parasitic worms known as filarial worms.
  • Infection occurs when lymphatic parasites are transmitted via mosquitoes. This can infect the lymphatic system and lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, and severe disability.

Causes: It is caused by microscopic, thread-like worms. There are three types of these thread-like filarial worms:

  • Wuchereria bancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases.
  • Brugia malayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases.
  • Brugia timori, which also causes the disease.

• It is considered globally as a neglected tropical disease (NTD).

• It is a leading cause of permanent disability worldwide.

• Affected area: It affects the lymph nodes and lymph vessels.

• Symptoms: Fever; Testicular and/or genital pain; Skin removal; Limb or genital swelling

Disease incidence in India:

  • In India, LF is prevalent in 11 endemic states: Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Gujarat.


  • Mass drug administration (MDA) is the most cost-effective approach to treating LF and preventing its transmission.
  • WHO recommends a triple therapy combination of ivermectin (I), diethylcarbamazine (D), and albendazole (A) for MDA against LF.
  • Multiple rounds of MDA, covering over 65 percent of the population in LF-endemic areas, are necessary for success.

India’s initiatives:

  • The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has introduced an advanced five-pronged strategy aimed at eradicating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027.

Nationwide Mass Drug Administration (MDA) Campaign: 

  • It involves giving treatment to an entire population or every person in a geographical area.
  • This initiative plays an important role in the control and eradication of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
  • India is committed to eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the global target.

Collaborative approach: The country is also embracing a collaborative approach through Jan Bhagidaari (public participation) and a comprehensive “Whole of Government and Whole of Society” approach.

International Initiatives:

The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) (by WHO):

  • To eradicate lymphatic filariasis through post-mass drug administration (MDA) surveillance across all endemic countries.
  • Its ultimate goal is to reduce the population requiring MDA to zero, aiming to halt the spread of infection and provide necessary care to those affected.

The WHO’s Road Map 2021−2030 outlines global targets and milestones for preventing, controlling, eliminating, or eradicating 20 diseases, including lymphatic filariasis.

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