The story of Lymphatic Filariasis elimination as a public health problem from Yemen.
In 2000, Yemen joined the WHO global efforts to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) as a public health problem by initiating a National LF Elimination Programme (NLFEP), that was fully integrated with the National Leprosy Elimination Programme (NLEP), the Ministry of Public Health and Population. This article reviews the NLFEP extensive efforts and interventions to eliminate LF in Yemen. LF mapping was started in 2000, followed by five annual rounds of mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin and albendazole in 8 implementation units (IUs) during 2002-2006. The epidemiological coverage for all MDA rounds was ≥80%. Based on WHO guidelines of 2005, MDA was stopped in 7 IUs, additional MDA rounds were continued in one IU until 2011. Microfilaremia monitoring and evaluation, and MDA stopping surveys were conducted based on WHO guidelines of 2005 and 2011. Information about the presence of patients suffering from lymphoedema/elephantiasis and hydrocele was collected, and basic care provided to all chronic cases by NLEP coordinators, trained on LF morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP). As of 2017, a total of 610 lymphoedema patients were trained on self-management, and 31 hydrocele patients were referred to local General Hospitals for surgery. The NLFEP made excellent progress due to integration with NLEP, strong collaboration with national and international bodies, intensive training and supervision, and the use of robust advocacy for mobilization of endemic communities. Transmission assessment surveys (TAS), conducted in 2013 and 2016, indicated 0% antigenemia levels in schoolchildren in the 8 IUs. Thus, after almost two decades of sustained effort, Yemen met the WHO criteria for successful elimination of LF as a public health problem. In 2019, WHO validated Yemen as the second country in the WHO' Eastern Mediterranean Region to successfully eliminate LF as a public health problem.
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