At the table, Dr. Riak Gai Kok receiving a dose of Ivermectin and Albendazole during the launch of mass drug administration to fight off Onchocerciasis in South Sudan (photo by Kitab  A Unango)

Kitab  A Unango

Jubek state Ministry of Health has launched a mass drug administration with Ivermectin and Albendazole for the elimination of Onchocerciasis and Lympatic fileriasis in the state.

Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, is a disease caused by infection with the parasitic worm, Onchocercavolvulus. Symptoms include severe itching, bumps under the skin, and blindness. It is the second-most common cause of blindness in South Sudan followed by trachoma.

This move was started in line with the Boma Health Initiative to ensure health services reach all South Sudanese at the grassroots level.

The fight against tropical diseases was launched on Wednesday with over five hundred trained volunteers who will be going to each and every household disseminating Ivermectin and Albendazole tablets to all Jubek state dwellers who are above the age of five.

Speaking at the launch on Wednesday at Jubek state Ministry of Health, the national ministry of health, Dr. Riak Gai Kok, encouraged volunteers to ensure they reached all citizens in Jubek state so as to eliminate riverblindness amongst people in the country.

“You take the drugs to each and every household. You should not go and sit under the tree and fill peoples’ names that these are the people who have received the drugs. You be patriotic and put the interest of South Sudan first then yours come second. If not, we will not eliminate OV and other tropical diseases in this country,” Dr. Gai said.

According to Evans Liyosi, World Health Organization representative, Onchocerciasis and other tropical diseases were the most neglected diseases in the whole world adding that eliminating them has become a big challenge.

“This is a big day not only to Jubek state but to the whole country because neglecting tropical diseases is one of the big challenges that affects not only South Sudan but Africa as a whole,” Liyosi said.

He added that over 40 percent of Africans were suffering from tropical diseases such as OV, elephantiasis and TB.

Onchocerciasis or river blindness is a pandemic disease virtually found in all parts of South Sudan. The disease affects great numbers of people in former western Equatoria and former western Bahr el Ghazal.

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