Background: A third of world's filariasis cases occur in India. As a result Mass Drug Administration (MDA) was commenced in 1997 with the aim of eliminating this disease by 2015. However the coverage of MDA was not satisfactory. The underlying reasons for the poor coverage need to be identified. This study was conducted to assess the awareness of health personnel of lymphatic filariasis and the MDA programme. Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Kundapura taluk of Karnataka state in India during the 6th round of the MDA which was held between December 11 to 13, 2009. 78 health personnel who were posted for drug distribution were selected by convenience sampling. After obtaining informed consent health personnel were interviewed individually using a semi-structured questionnaire. Performance of health personnel was assessed according to points scored for their responses. Results: The mean age of all participants were 22.7± 8.9 years, 74(94.1%) were females and 58(74.4%) were nursing students. Only 17 (21.8%) participants had prior experience before taking part in this round of MDA. Only 4 (5.1%) participants achieved good scores while 45 (57.7%) got average scores. Performance scores were significantly better among paramedical workers (P<0.025) and participants with at least 4 years of experience in MDA (P<0.004). 10 (12.8%) participants held the misconception that MDA should not be given to patients with DM (diabetes mellitus) and 7 (9.0%) felt that it should not be given to patients with hypertension or elderly people. This was seen significantly more (P<0.001) among non medical workers compared to others. Conclusion: Very few participants in this study attained good performance scores regarding their knowledge of lymphatic filariasis and the MDA programme. Performance scores were better among paramedical workers compared to others. However misconceptions about contraindications to MDA were seen in all participants and this must be addressed by future training.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes