Headline : Telangana government stalls deworming drive for children
- The deworming drive aimed at distribution of Albendazole tablets to around 6.68 lakh children in both some districts of Telangana as part of the National Deworming Programme (NDP) could not be held as per schedule.
- The drive has been put off after two batches of the anti-worm tablets supplied to both the districts were found to be ‘Not of Standard Quality’ (NSQ).
In Focus: National Deworming Initiative
- According to World Health Organization, 241 million children between the ages of 1 and 14 years are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms in India, also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH).
- More than 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population, are infected with soil-transmitted helminth infections worldwide.
- As per WHO, 64% of the Indian population less than 14 years are at risk of STH infections.
- Helminths (worms) which are transmitted through soil contaminated with faecal matter are called soil-transmitted helminths (Intestinal parasitic worms).
- Roundworm, whipworm and hookworms are worms that infect people.
- They are transmitted by eggs present in human faeces which in turn contaminate soil in areas where sanitation is poor.
Effects of STH infections:
- STH infections can lead to anemia, malnutrition, impaired mental and physical & cognitive development, and reduced school participation.
About: National Deworming Day
- It is a single fixed-day approach to treating intestinal worm infections in all children aged 1- 19 years, and is held on 10 February and 10 August each year.
- Note: This year the NDD was being conducted on 8th February and mop up day on the 14th February.
- National Deworming Day program initiative is implemented with an objective to reduce the prevalence of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) or parasitic intestinal worms so that they are no longer a public health problem.
- The programme was first launched in 2015 and was implemented in 11 States/UTs across all Government and Government-aided schools and Anganwadi centres targeting children aged 1 to 19 years.
- After conducting five rounds of National Deworming Day since 2015, the program has been scaled up throughout the country.
- Albendazole tablets given: The NDD program is a cost-effective program at scale that continues to reach crores of children and adolescents with deworming benefits through a safe medicine Albendazole.
- To deworm all preschool and school-age children (enrolled and non-enrolled) between theages of 1-19 years through the platform of schools and Anganwadi Centers in order to improve their overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.
- To increase programme outreach to private schools and maximize deworming benefits for large number of children various awareness activities (media mix) are involved under the programme.
- Campaigns are conducted to spread awareness about importance and benefits of dewarming, as well as prevention strategies related to improved behaviors and practices for hygiene and sanitation.
- Reaching out to Private Schools and Out-of-School children:
- In addition to including government and government-aided schools and anganwadis, all states makes 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.
Significance of Deworming Programme:
- reduce absenteeism in schools;
- improve health, nutritional, and learning outcomes; and
- increase the likelihood of higher-wage jobs later in life.
- Apart from being dewormed, maintaining healthy and hygienic practices will help children and communities remain safe from worm infections.
- The MoHFW envisions an open-defecation-free India which holds the capacity to reduce the overall worm burden in a community.