U Myo Myint, Technical Officer of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced that Japanese company Eisia will donate Filariasis vaccine for 6 consecutive years.
The vaccine has to be taken for 5 consecutive years and Eisia will donate it till 2020 throughout Myanmar. U Myo Myint added that the donation of 2.2 billion of DEC tablets (Filariasis vaccine) will start in 2014.
“WHO is distributing the vaccine free of cost as the people cannot afford it and the authorities do not have sufficient funding. The vaccine do not have major side effects”, he explained.
According to the WHO, Filariasis is prevalent in nine Southeast Asian countries including Myanmar and the DEC tablets were distributed in these countries. Filariasis is in the fourth stage in Myanmar.
The Filariasis vaccine was started in Myanmar in the year 2000. The vaccines were given to people as a part of an Anti-filariasis project.
The Anti-flariasis Project department is conducted by the Health Department and they are of the opinion that occurrence of Filariasis will be reduced to a great extent by 2020. The disease will be considered clear only when the virus is found in only one in a thousand person.
“We have given these vaccines in rural area in the past But we did not have adequate and regular supply of vaccines. Now we are distributing it in Yangon and Mandalay as we have a donor. We will distribute the vaccine to 45 districts. Recently, 19 districts had to go without vaccines”, said Dr. Ni Ni Aye, Deputy Director of the Health Department and Manager of the Anti-filariasis Project.
Dr. U Khin Maung Lwin, Retired Director of the Ministry of Health said the symptoms of Filariasis do not show up easily.
“The number of people who need to take the vaccine is 41.9 million. If things go on like this and if the Anti-filariasis project is not successful, things will get even worse. We need to educate people to prevent the disease”, he said.
In order to prevent Filariasis, people are given a vaccine of DEC tablets with a dose of Albendazol simultaneously. In areas infected with the disease, civilians are given one dose a year and it has to be continued for 5 consecutive years. The vaccine is given to everyone, except children under 2 years, pregnant women and patients suffering from cardiac problems, Hypertension, Diabetes, Hepatitis, renal diseases and Asthma.
Filariasis is a disease caused by a hookworm like parasite, that feeds on human blood vessels. The mosquito Culex, which carries the filariasis virus, breeds in dirty drains water and unhygienic lavatories.
The Filariasis vaccine that are being distributed currently in Myanmar were donated by the Sanofi Drugs Company.