Solomon Islands
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Fight Against Scabies Reaches 50% of Solomon Islands Population

The nationwide rollout of the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) against scabies is progressing well.

The target is to reach a coverage of 85% of people receiving the scabies treatment during the MDA. To date, an estimated 50% of the total population in the Solomon Islands has received treatment for scabies since the start of the MDA in June 2022.

Provinces that completed the MDA rollout includes Choiseul, Western, Isabel, Honiara, Makira and Rennell and Bellona provinces.

Temotu Province is yet to roll out its MDA due to the community transmission of COVID-19 in the province in the latter half of last year and
Guadalcanal Province zone 3 (Weather coast -From Koloula - AvuAvu) is yet to commence its MDA.

This month, Central Islands Province is rolling out its MDA program.

The Central Islands Province, Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) focal person, Registered Nurse Joseph Manele said the mass drug administration rollout has been going on well as most people in the community are working together with the team to take up their doses.

He outlined all five zones in the province have taken their first and second doses except for Russell Islands, due to bad weather conditions. Therefore, the first dose team will complete distributing the first doses next week, and, the second dose team will continue with the second doses the week after.

He explained there were a total of seven teams deployed to conduct the first and second doses.

“Good community participation and turnout of people was witnessed during this mass drug administration”, said Manele.

He acknowledged everybody’s involvement and participation, especially all team leaders, health staff support at the clinic, provincial community officers, and community leaders.

“Thank you to the National MDA staff who were being so supportive and patient with us”, said Manele.

The nationwide MDA is recommended following a scabies prevalence survey conducted in 2021 that reported more than 23% of the Solomon Islands population live with scabies in the communities.

Children, 15 years and below are the most affected population. Ivermectin tablet and Permethrin, the two highly effective drugs for scabies are used in the MDA. The scabies mass drug administration aimed to reduce and control the chain of transmission of scabies and thereby reduce the prevalence in the country.

While Ivermectin remains a prescribed drug, permethrin cream will soon be available in the clinics to be used as the first-line drug for the treatment of scabies in the country.

The National NTD unit is currently reviewing the treatment coverage by province and will work with provinces that has lower treatment coverage to plan and conduct a mop-up MDA with an aim to increase treatment coverage to reach its target.

Those who missed the community outreach programs of health workers administering the drugs, can still receive at the nearest clinic.

MDA is funded by the World Scabies Program (WSP) through Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Melbourne University Australia and it’s coordinated by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Source: Press Release