Eastern Visayas anti-schisto drive targets 75% of vulnerable population

July 14, 2015 5:28 am 

TACLOBAN CITY, July 13 -– The Department of Health (DOH) will reach out 75 percent of highly vulnerable population of Eastern Visayas in the month-long mass vaccination against schistosomiasis.

The region has 742,271 populations highly susceptible to the disease in Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar provinces, but the campaign will only focus five to 65 years old of the residents, said Rhea Sumampong, nurse of the DOH regional schistosomiasis control and elimination program.

The DOH declared July as the mass treatment month for schistosomiasis, which aims to control morbidity of the exposed population, create awareness on the disease health risks among the exposed population and necessity of the yearly schistosomiasis treatment and to accomplish the 85 percent coverage treatment of the targeted age group.

In its 2014 campaign, the DOH regional office achieved 75 coverage, which they hope to sustain this year. Under Administrative Order No. 0013, the provincial health officers are tasked to supervise and monitor the conduct of implementation in all the established mass treatment centers.

Absence of sanitary toilets has triggered the emergence of this disease. Citing monitoring reports, the National Statistical Board said that as of 2011, 35 percent of the region’s populations have not toilet facilities.

People become infected when larval forms of the parasite – released by freshwater snails – penetrate the skin during contact with infested water. These snails got parasites from human feces of infected persons.

The DOH is highly recommending the use of sanitary toilets, ensure safe water supply, use foot bridges and control of stray animals to attain up to 75 percent reduction of disease transmission.

Schistosomiasis is an infection caused by blood fluke. A person may acquire the infection from fresh water contaminated with larval cercariae, which developed in snails. Untreated individuals could transmit the disease through discharging schistosome eggs in feces into bodies of water.

Long term infections can result to severe development of lesions, which can lead to blockage of blood flow. The infection can also cause portal hypertension, which can make collateral circulation, hence, redirecting the eggs to other parts of the body. (PNA)

FFC/SQM/RIONA MARIE MAGBUTAY

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