India to Conduct a Nation-wide Deworming Campaign
| Indian Observer Post - 09 Aug 2018

India to Conduct a Nation-wide Deworming Campaign to Combat Intestinal Worm Infections in Children

 

National Deworming Day – Coverage to Date

  • February 2018 – 26.6 crore children dewormed in 33 states/union territories
  • August 2017 – 22.8 crore children dewormed in 32 states/union territories 
  • February 2017 – 25.6 crore children dewormed in 34 states/union territories
  • August 2016 – 11.9 crore children dewormed in 22 states/union territories
  • February 2016 – 17.9 crore children dewormed in 32 states/union territories
  • February 2015 – 8.9 crore children dewormed in 11 states/union territories

New Observer Post

New DelhiAugust 9, 2018, - In response to the country-wide public health threat of intestinal worm infections in children and related morbidity, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of the Government of India has mandated all states and union territories to conduct the National Deworming Day (NDD).  The National Deworming Day is a single fixed day approach to treating the intestinal worm infections in all children and adolescents aged 1- 19 years and is held on 10th February and 10th August each year. The biannual round of the mass deworming program will take place on 10 August, 2018.   Having conducted six rounds of National Deworming Day since 2015, the National Deworming Day aims to reach all children at schools and anganwadis with the deworming treatment. Any child not dewormed on National Deworming Day due to absenteeism or sickness, will be dewormed on mop-up day, 17 August,2018.

Anganwadi and school-based National Deworming Day is safe, cost-effective, and can reach crores of children and adolescents quickly. Deworming has been shown to reduce absenteeism in schools; improve health, nutritional, and learning outcomes for children; and increase the likelihood of higher-wage jobs later in life. Deworming with the safe and beneficial Albendazole tablet is an evidence-based, globally-accepted, and effective solution to controlling worm infections. National Deworming Day has, thus, been designed to reach all children, regardless of socio-economic background.

The National Deworming Day is included under the purview of the Extended Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (EGSA), a special multi-departmental and multi-sectoral initiative for achieving saturation under various pro-poor program of Government of India, under Ministry of Panchayati Raj. All states and union territories are leveraging community mobilization opportunities for the 115 aspirational districts under the EGSA to achieve 100% coverage through specialized drives in these districts.

National Deworming Day is also one of the program by the MoHFW, under the National Nutrition Strategy, formulated in December 2017, with a vision of Kuposhan Mukt Bharat and Anaemia Mukt Bharat by 2022.

As directed by the MoHFW, in addition to including government and private schools and anganwadis, all states will make special efforts to reach out-of-school children, who are most vulnerable to worm infections. Private schools across the country, since they have high enrolment of children, have also enthusiastically joined the program, so that children in these schools, too, get deworming treatment and contribute to overall reduction in worm prevalence in communities.

At the national review and planning meeting for NDD August 2018, the Joint Secretary, Ms. Vandana Gurnani, said “The deworming program so far has focused increasingly on children enrolled in government and private schools and anganwadi centres and special efforts are now being directed towards reaching out-of-school children, who are most vulnerable to worm infections.” She also shared the “proactive role being played by private schools across the country, who have also enthusiastically joined the program, so that children in these schools, too, get deworming treatment and contribute to overall reduction in worm prevalence in communities”.

To prepare for National Deworming Day, teachers and anganwadi workers have been trained to administer the tablet to children, while ASHAs and other functionaries will generate awareness and mobilize children to be dewormed on the day.  Other ministries and departments from Panchayati Raj, Youth affairs are also deploying their resources of panchayat members, youth volunteers and other community based groups to engage communities towards a worm free India.

Deworming may have very few side effects and some children, especially those with high worm infections, might experience nausea, mild abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and fatigue. In line with the guidance from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, comprehensive adverse event protocols have been put in place. Apart from being dewormed, maintaining healthy and hygienic practices will help children and communities remain safe from worm infections.  The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare envisions an open-defecation-free India which holds the capacity to reduce the overall worm burden in a community.

National Deworming Day is implemented with technical assistance from WHO, National Centre for Disease Control, and Evidence Action.


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