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Indonesia launches BELKAGA, designating October as National Filariasis Elimination Month

Date: 
October 01, 2015

The ENVISION team in Indonesia was pleased to take part in the launch of BELKAGA, (Bulan Eliminasi Kaki Gajah) on Thursday, October 1, 2015 where Prof. Dr. Nila F Moeloeke, the Indonesia Minister of Health officially declared October National Filariasis Elimination Month at a launch ceremony in Cibinong, Bogor Regency, West Java.

BELKAGA is a national strategy being used to intensify lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination efforts, relying heavily on social mobilization. The approach includes -

  • Making LF elimination a national movement and initiating a campaign to make October National Filariasis Elimiantion Month
  • Streamlining the coordination of the implementation of national LF elimination program at all stages—planning, preparation, execution, and evaluation; and
  • Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the social mobilization campaigns in order to achieve high treatment coverage in every village.

As part of the event, the Minister committed to mass drug administration (MDA) for 105 million Indonesians living at risk for LF across 241 endemic districts, in order to achieve an LF-free Indonesia by the year 2020. Governors of endemic provinces across the country simultaneously took the anti-filariasis medicines as a sign of collective support for the initiative.

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Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world, with a population of over 255 million people spread throughout thousands of islands. Indonesia is in the midst of redistricting; in 2012, the country had 33 provinces and 497 districts. By the end of 2015, Indonesia will have 34 provinces and 514 districts. LF, soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH), and schistosomiasis are endemic in Indonesia. With its large population, Indonesia has one of the heaviest burdens of NTDs globally, spread throughout all 514 districts. All three types of lymphatic parasites—namely Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori—are prevalent in Indonesia, with B. malayi the most widespread. In 2014, a total of 14,932 chronic cases of either lymphedema or hydrocele were reported.

In 2005, the Government of Indonesia decreed filariasis elimination to be one of the national priorities to combat communicable diseases and agreed to the global World Health Organization goal of eliminating LF as a public-health problem by 2020.  In calendar year 2014, LF/STH MDA reached 20.5 million people in 75 LF-endemic districts, with 8 districts implementing partial coverage.

ENVISION began working in Indonesia in 2011 and provides technical assistance and funding for NTD control and elimination activities, capacity strengthening for NTD control and elimination as well as assistance for NTD program monitoring and evaluation.