Health Ministry need to address double dosing in next Mass Drug Administration

Images from the recent Lymphatic Filarisis Mass Drug Administration (MDA) Photo: MOH

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 08 NOVEMBER 2018: Double dosing will continue to be problem in future Lymphatic Filarisis Mass Drug Administration (MDA) if the Ministry of Health does not come up with a solution.

The Assistant Chief Executive Officer and Head of the Health Service Promotion with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Robert Thomsen admitted that they do not have an answer to the problem.

He was speaking at the 11th Annual Health Sector Forum this week.

During the recent MDA campaign, three cases of double dosing were recorded involving three young children and it raised concern from the World Health Organisation.

The Resident Representative of WHO in Samoa, Dr. Rasul Baghivoe wanted to know what methods are taken by the health sector to prevent double dosing from happening again in next year’s mass drug administration program.

“Double dosing increases the probability of negativity so what preventative measure are taken to prevent it?” asked Dr. Baghivoe.

“I don’t have a definite answer on how to prevent double dosing apart from training and advocating for those who would be implementing it,” said Dr. Thomsen.

He said the saddest part was that it was the team led by the health personnel that caused the double dosing.

“It is something that we really need to look at to plan for next year’s mass drug administration,” said Dr. Thomsen.

Images of double dosing cases involving young children shown during a presentation at this weeks 11th Annual Health Sector Forum

Double Dosing Cases
The cases of double dosing reported included a 4 year old child who was given a second dose at home 24 hours after receiving the first dose at school. The child’s small finger and thumb were both marked.

The second case involved a 7 year old boy who was also given another set of medication 24 hours after receiving the first dose at school.

Both the small finger and thumb of his left hand were marked.

The 3rd case is of a 9 year old boy who received a second dose 24 hours after taking the first dose at school. The small finger on his left hand and a thumb on his right hand were both marked indicating the number of times he took the dose.

The concern raised by Dr. Baghivoe raised more questions on why volunteers were brought in to do the work that could have been handled by the health service workers themselves.

“Out of the 28 patients aged 2 to 12 years old, 43% of the patients presented adverse effects due to having taken IDA twice within 24 hours,” stated the report.

For next year’s MDA campaign, Dr. Thomsen said the plan has already been approved and both Samoa and American Samoa will again undertake the mass drug intake together.

Figures from the recent campaign show the overall gender percentage of 51% male and 49% female of those who received MDA medication and the campaign has been hailed by health officials as a success.