THE Japanese Government has shown its support towards the Fiji Filariasis Free weekend program through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
JICA has provided about 81.6 million filariasis tablets (Diethyl Carbamazine - DEC) and 70,000 rapid test kits.
Speaking at the launching of the program yesterday, JICA representative Shumon Yoshiara said the organisation was not only looking at giving its assistance to completely eradicate the disease in the country but also in the Pacific region.
"Elimination of lymphatic filariasis in Fiji is feasible but it will require a high level of commitment from all stakeholders and an extremely active follow up to make sure that up to 100 per cent of the population has taken the medicines in 2012," he said.
The three days campaign schedule to begin next Friday has seen a proactive approach by the Ministry of Health in sending out health workers to various communities in the Central/Eastern and Northern divisions to distribute filariasis tablets to members of the public who are more than two years old.
"Filariasis, as we all know, is a disfiguring disease leading to disabilities and social stigma in individuals. Under the Global filariasis elimination programme, it has been planned to declare the elimination of filariasis as a regional collaborative approach from the Pacific region by 2020," said Mr Yoshiara.
Through the mass drug administration program, the Ministry of health has recorded a drop in filariasis cases in the Fiji.
The program was introduced in 2002 when a survey conducted by the Health Ministry showed 17 per cent of the country's population was infected by the disease.
However, the numbers dropped tremendously with current figures standing at 9.6 per cent during a survey conducted in 2007.