Is your child finding it difficult to grasp lessons at school? Do you think your child has a poor memory, poor concentration and laziness?
Well, consider this – your loved ones might be infected with intestinal worms which result in anaemia, malnutrition and drastically affecting their mental and physical development, health, education and productivity.
This article is about a national level health campaign in India to reduce the transmission of “soil transmitted helminths” (STH). This year the national de-worming day will be observed on February 8, thursday. So let’s get started then.
What is National De-Worming Day?
The aim of national de-worming day (NDD) is to de-worm all preschool and school going children (enrolled and non-enrolled) between age group of 1 to 19 years through the platform of Government schools, Government-aided schools, private schools and Anganwadi centres.
Albendazole, the safest and an effective medicine (chewable tablet or syrup) will be given to all children in the age group of 1 to 19 years at these centres. Children aged 1 to 5 years will be given the tablet at Anganwadis and the rest of them (6 to 19 years) will be given the medicine at nearby schools. By consuming the tablet in one single day across the country, the worm infection can be treated effectively. Unlike Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI), the albendazole tablet will NOT be distributed in every household.
Why De-Worm after all?
To answer this question, we should know a thing or two about the intestinal worms aka “soil transmitted helminths”. According to World Health Organization (WHO), Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) are among the most common infections worldwide. It lives in human intestines and consume nutrients meant for the human body. They produce thousands of eggs each day, which are passed in faeces and spread to others in areas with poor sanitation facilities and where open defecation is common.
Remember your kid complaining of intense itching in the anal region particularly at night? Well, that is pin-worm infection! Children are mostly at the receiving end of the intestinal worm infections which has some drastic effects like :-
- Anaemia –> tiredness, loss of appetite
- Impaired physical and mental development
- Poor productivity
- Recurrent abdominal pain
- Nausea, vomiting
- Blood stained stools, diarrhoea
These symptoms and conditions are directly proportional to the worm-load in the child. Children with low worm load may be asymptomatic and that is why all children are required to take the Albendazole.
What is the need for de-worming programme in India?
According to WHO, India has the highest burden of Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) in the world. An alarming 220 million children aged 1 to 14 are estimated to be at risk of worm infections. Almost 7 in 10 children between 6 month and 5 years are anaemic, with even higher rates of anaemia in rural areas. These data were reported in the 2006 National Family Health Survey.
And that is the reason why the first round of national de-worming day was carried out in February 10, 2015 covering ten states in the country. That day, 89 million school going children and and 3.67 children attending Anganwadis were de-wormed.
Next ThursdaySTH on February 8, do make sure that your child gets de-wormed.
Is Albendazole safe?
Yes. Albendazole is is one of the safest anti-helminth preparation which has been in clinical use for several decades. It has already been used together with di-ethyl carbamazine (DEC) in the mass drug administration programme (MDA) to control filariasis in India. Albendazole is safe and does not have any side effects. Some of the rarely reported side effects include nausea, diarrhoea which usually passes in one or two hours.
Children aged 1-2 are given half a tablet of albendazole (400 mg), crushed and mixed in drinking water. Children above the age of 2 are given 1 full tablet of albendazole (400mg) to chew. The tablet should always be administered under supervision.
How can you help make the NDD programme a success?
In order to make this national level health campaign a successful one, we need your complete support and cooperation.
- All parents and teachers are requested to give the de-worming drug to all children aged 1 to 19 years.
- Teach and practice good personal hygiene habits like washing your hands with soap before and after having any kind of food ; trimming finger-nails frequently.
- Always cook your food properly before serving. ( READ : Tips to Eat Healthy Food )
- Share the importance of this programme with your friends and family.
- Children who are not registered in schools or anganwadis will be given the medicine by Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) of the concerned areas.
- Give your child the albendazole tablet irrespective of recent history of medical treatment for parasitic worm infections.
- Children who were absent at school on February 10 will be given the tablet one week later on February 15 as a “mop-up’ to the NDD.
- Thereafter, give your children the albendazole tablet once in a year.
The national de-worming day is a novel campaign by the Indian Government to reduce the prevalence of intestinal worm infection. By participating in this programme, you help your child to be healthy, control anaemia, prevent malnutrition, improve concentration ability, productivity and makes them more active. You’ll no longer need to worry about their school attendance percentage.
The first round of #NDD was the world’s biggest de-worming programme ever. Let’s make this years #NDD a bigger and more successful one.
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Featured image credit – thats