Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The Healthy Ministry is all set to launch the National De-worming Initiative later on in the month of February in an attempt to improve child nutrition and combat malnutrition among pre-school and school age children.
Under this initiative which will focus on 11 high burden states in the first phase (including Assam, Bihar, Haryana and Chhattisgarh), the ministry plans to provide albendazole tablet to all school enrolled children. In Anganwadi centres, health workers would provide the medicine to children aged 1-5 years as well as to out-of-school children or adolescents.
The Health Ministry plans to launch massive awareness activities that will result in demand generation for de-worming tablets and ensure effective utilisation of the deworming initiative through various platforms such as gram panchayats.
The initiative also seeks to create a state-wise database through studies and surveys to assess the worm load in the different states. Currently, the worm load data is only available for a few states such as Delhi and Bihar; the initiative may thus miss out specific states that have a high worm load. The current initiative relies on estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the WHO estimates, 241 million Indian children in the age group of 1-14 years representing 68% of them, are at risk for soil transmitted helminthes or parasitic worms. Parasitic worms can impact a child’s mental and physical development and can cause anaemia and under-nutrition. These worms live in the intestine, produce thousands of eggs each day, and can contaminate the soil in areas with poor sanitation. One the most common infections worldwide, soil transmitted helminthes, are transmitted by eggs that are passed in the faeces of infected individuals.
According to a health ministry official "Our initiative is in line with WHO framework and guidelines and they are our technical partners in the programme,"
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