February 19, 2021
Eisai has been manufacturing and supplying the lymphatic filariasis (LF) treatment DEC tablets for free via the World Health Organization (WHO) to endemic countries since 2013. 2.01 billion DEC tablets have been provided to 28 countries (as of the end of January 2021).
Mass drug administration (MDA) was carried out aiming to cover 3.5 million residents at risk of LF infection in Kenya, one of the countries where Eisai provides DEC tablets, in December 2020. The MDA, which was postponed due to COVID-19, was finally resumed in December with the efforts of Kenya's neglected tropical disease (NTD) control officials after implementing measures against COVID-19 infection. In addition to providing DEC tablets for free, Eisai also provided masks and sanitizers for COVID-19 infection control in conducting the MDA. The sanitizers were procured from Saraya Co., Ltd.'s Uganda plant in Africa.
In order to eliminate LF, it is necessary to cover as many people as possible in the MDA. Achieving high coverage of the MDA is vital for the early elimination of LF. MDA took place on December 4-10, 2020 covering most of the target population.
In addition to the support for the MDA, Eisai has also provided water tanks in collaboration with Merck to supply clean water for Kenya’s NTDs endemic regions where it is difficult to secure clean water. The tanks are installed in the endemic areas which are designated by the Ministry of Health of Kenya.
When LF becomes severe, it causes lymphatic dysfunction that leads to swelling of body parts such as legs and affected body parts become susceptible to bacteria. In order to make water tanks easily accessible by local residents, the tanks are installed next to local schools and both residents and schools are able to access to clean water. Also, clean water supply helps to make hand washing a habit and contributes to COVID-19 measures.
Eisai will keep working on LF elimination through many activities in addition to the free provision of DEC tablets.