The national launch for the mass drug administration has kicked off at Nyamandlovu Business Centre in Umguza district with the community being urged to go out in full force and receive free treatment.

The programme which focuses on neglected tropical diseases such as elephantiasis, bilharzia and intestinal worms starts today and runs until the 4th of November.

Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Nyasha Masuka said the province covered 80 percent in the previous programme while the current one will cover six districts namely Hwange, Binga, Nkayi, Bubi, Umguza and Lupane.

According to the national survey carried out in 2014, active infection of elephantiasis was identified in 39 districts across the country.

Bilharzia is present in 56 districts while intestinal worms were found in 47 districts.

The launch is being attended by partners of the Ministry of Health and Child Care, traditional leaders, school children as well as the community.