WASHINGTON – U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech today announced that the Department of the Interior has provided $550,000 in technical assistance grant funding for fiscal year (FY) 2018 and FY 2019 to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, in collaboration with the American Samoa Department of Health, to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis in American Samoa.
“In FY 2018, we provided $200,000 and started a collaboration with health experts at the CDC and health officials in American Samoa to combat Lymphatic Filariasis,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “Last year, health experts implemented a first round of mass drug administration in the territory, reaching an impressive 73 percent of the population. This year we are providing an additional $350,000 to conduct a second mass distribution of requisite drugs with the goal of eliminating this disease from the territory.”
Lymphatic Filariasis, commonly known elephantiasis, is a painful, disfiguring, and disabling disease caused by parasitic worms which are transmitted by mosquitoes. The disease has been targeted by the World Health Organization for global elimination by 2020. American Samoa is the only U.S. jurisdiction where transmission of the parasite is still known to be occurring and has had some of the highest infection levels in the Pacific.
The FY 2019 funding will conduct an impact assessment on the effect of the first round conducted in October 2018. It will also enable the CDC and American Samoa Department of Health officials to conduct a second MDA and a secondary assessment following its completion. The CDC anticipates that with 75 percent population participation, only two additional rounds of MDA will be needed to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis in American Samoa.
Funding provided through the Office of Insular Affairs is made available each year by the U.S. Congress and is used to address a variety of needs across the U.S. Insular Areas. For more information on funding assistance available through the Office of Insular Affairs, visit the OIA website at https://www.doi.gov/oia/financial-assistance.
The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.