Lao PDR Holds National Celebration for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis
On October 27, the Government of Lao PDR held a ceremony to commemorate the elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem. The achievement was announced earlier this month at the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines.
The national celebration event was held Attapeu Province, the region of the country that required interventions to eliminate the disease. The event was presided over by the Minister of Health, the Governor of Attapeu Province, the WHO Representative for Laos and a Representative from USAID.
Over 250 people attended the event, including participants from the Ministry of Health, the provincial and district health services, and all of the health centers that were involved in the LF elimination efforts. During the event, health officials and partners were recognized for their contributions to this historic achievement.
Dr. Rattanaxay, the Director General for the Department of Communicable Diseases Control at the Ministry of Health, provided an overview the country’s journey to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, starting with efforts to gather initial funding from various sources to implement preliminary mapping in 1998, through to the successful validation of elimination in 2023. He offered a heartfelt thank you to all of the multitude of health care providers and program managers involved in the program over the years and praised the active collaboration of partners including WHO, USAID, FHI360 and RTI International.
Lao PDR is the 19th country globally to have achieved validation of lymphatic filariasis elimination. The country previously eliminated trachoma, another neglected tropical disease, in 2017, demonstrating the strong national commitment to health.