Brunei aims to be filariasis-free next

National 2 minutes, 19 seconds


BRUNEI is aiming to eliminate lympathic filariasis as it approaches the end of its second round of mass drug administration (MDA), said the Health Minister.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof hoped the MDA initiative will eventually result in Brunei being declared filariasis-free.

He anticipated the eradication of filariasis, a parasitic disease caused by an infection with roundworms, will follow the success of malaria, polio and measles elimination.

The minister yesterday received a certification of verification of measles elimination for Brunei after the nation was recognised as measles-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). He described the achievement as “a significant milestone in the history of health services in the country”.

“The success of the attainment of this certification underscores the country’s continued determination and commitment in eliminating measles in this country,” he said. In ensuring the success of childhood prevention and control efforts, he emphasised the important roles of the public particularly parents, guardians and relevant stakeholders to cooperate with the Ministry of Health (MoH) in supporting the National Immunisation Programme.

He urged the public to make sure that all children are vaccinated according to the National Immunisation Schedule.

“I think this is the best and cost-effective approach in preventing infectious diseases and to ensure the next generation lead a healthy and productive life to become a valuable asset to the country,” said the minister.

Measles vaccination was introduced in 1973 for children aged nine months as part of the National Immunisation Programme.

Currently, the vaccine is given in two doses, as recommended by the WHO, to all children aged one year and 18 months. The minister pointed out that Brunei has been able to maintain routine measles vaccination coverage at more than 90 per cent for many years.

Through high quality surveillance of measles cases, the sultanate has not detected any endemic cases of measles in more than six years as required by the Regional Verification Commission.

In addition to epidemiological surveillance, the minister said Brunei has maintained a high standard of laboratory surveillance through ISO 15189 accreditation for measles serology testing in 2011.

The laboratory has been accredited as the WHO National Measles and Rubella Laboratory for Brunei and is now part of the WHO Measles Laboratory Network in the Western Pacific.

He added that Brunei is committed in maintaining the high measles immunisation coverage in order to protect the population from the diseases. However, he noted there are still a number of countries in the region, which are facing measles outbreak.

“It is very encouraging that these countries are also aspiring to achieve measles elimination status. In this regard, we are keen to share our experience with other countries in the region,” he said.

The Brunei Times