A National Parasite Survey in Timor Leste
One of the WHO recommended strategy to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is preventive chemotherapy, a large scale distribution of safe, quality drugs to entire population at-risk. Before implementing this, a baseline survey and mapping is needed to properly plan and design the program. Timor Leste, one of the newest countries in SEA Region, recently conducted the largest and most comprehensive survey of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) nationwide. LF is a disfiguring disease caused by filarial worm that brings health, social and economic loss to people affected. STH infections, adversely affect child growth and development leading to negative impact on school attendance and education attainment. Both seriously impair lives of millions of people. The survey is conducted by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with AusAID and WHO. From the findings presented in this report, the mass drug administration program conducted between 2005 and 2008 and the incorporation of LF and STH treatment programmes into national primary healthcare services has not been sufficient to interrupt transmission of LF and STH in Timor-Leste. Recommendations were formulated and actions to be taken in the short future.