Community awareness on the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) program for scabies is currently underway in Honiara, ahead of the actual rollout of the drugs next week.
The awareness had commenced last week and will continue until Friday this week with the hope of covering all Honiara communities as per the health zones. HCC, chief Health Promotion Officer, Mr. Oliver Oli outlined that the awareness will cover a total of 147 communities in the 3 health zones of Honiara.
“East zone which is East Honiara we will cover 74 communities while in Central, 45 communities and 28 communities in the Western zone”.
Provinces will commence similar community awareness once they completed their trainings for the awareness and actual rollout of the drugs, that is currently taking place.
Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Health Promotion Director, Mr. Adrian Leamana explained that community awareness on scabies and the MDA program is very important ahead of the mass scabies drug rollout to ensure communities are well informed before its uptake.
“This will be the opportunity where communities get to know more about scabies, its health impact, and the importance of receiving the scabies drug. Furthermore, the interactions with community offer opportunity for them to ask questions so I am urging all communities to make use of the awareness sessions with our health workers”, highlighted Leamana.
Scabies is an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis). The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs.
The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. History of contact with an infected person is one important information to diagnose scabies. It can only be cured with prescription medications that will kill the mites and living in a clean environment.
Scabies is a public health problem in Solomon Islands which affects mostly children of school age.
Rolling out the treatment for scabies to all communities and people AT ONCE will contribute significantly to stopping the spread of scabies. Everyone will be treated for scabies regardless of age and gender even those without scabies can also receive the drug and for babies and children a cream will be administered to their skins.
The scabies MDA program of the Ministry of Health is supported by the World Scabies Program (WSP) and World Health Organization (WHO) provided funding for trainings and technical support. Ministry of Health would also like to acknowledge the collaboration with Murdock Children’s Research Institute for the implementation of the program.