The National Deworming Day is observed every year on August 10 with the foremost objective to resist parasitic worm infections among preschool and school-age children across India. To combat the situation of worm infection in India, the Indian government (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) originated the National Deworming Day (NDD) in February 2015 as part of the National Health Mission.
What is the objective of National Deworming Day?
The day aims to deworm all preschool and school-age children within the ages of 1-19 years to develop their overall health, nutritional status and quality of life. On this day, Albendazole tablets are provided to all targeted children.
According to the World Health Organization, 241 million children between the ages of 1 and 14 years are at danger of parasitic intestinal worms in India, also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH).
What is STH?
Soil-Transmitted Helminths (worms) which are spread through soil contaminated with faecal matter are called soil-transmitted helminths (Intestinal parasitic worms). Roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale) are worms that infect people.
According to WHO, Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) or parasitic worms are among the most popular infections worldwide. It survives in human intestines and absorbs nutrients meant for the human body. They deliver thousands of eggs each day, which are transferred in faeces and spread to others in areas used for a public toilet.
STH diseases can lead to anaemia, malnutrition, weakened mental and physical & cognitive development and reduced school participation.
How STH will be transmitted?
- Infected people who pass outdoors spread worm eggs in the soil.
- Eggs pollute the soil and spread disease in several ways
- Ingested through vegetables that are not thoroughly cooked, washed or peeled;
- Ingested from contaminated water sources
- Ingested by kids who play in soil and then put their fingers in their mouths without washing them.
How can be STH Infections prevented?
- Using hygienic toilets, not defecating outside
- Hand-washing, especially before eating and after using toilets
- Wearing sandals and shoes
- Washing fruits and vegetables in secure and clean water
- Eating well-cooked food
Deworming treatment is given to children:
Albendazole and Mebendazole are the names of deworming drugs accepted by the Government of India and is a safe remedy for intestinal worms. The recommended dosage is as follows:
- For children of 2 years and upwards: 1 tablet Albendazole (400 mg) or 1 tablet Mebendazole (500 mg)
- For children of age 1 – 2 years: ½ tablet of Albendazole (400 mg) or 1 tablet of Mebendazole (500 mg)
Appropriate treatment of doses to children between the ages of 1 and 3 years is necessary. The tablet should be broken and crushed between 2 spoons, then water added to help direct the drug. The older children should chew the tablet and if needed should drink some water.
What are the benefits of STH treatment?
Accurate studies have shown that deworming has a notable impact on the health, education and livelihoods of treated children. Results of deworming can include:
- Decreases anaemia and enhances nutrition
- Boosts growth and weight gain
- Improves knowledge and mental and physical growth
- Increases immunity to other infections
- Supports more common school attendance
- Improves children’s capacity to learn better and be more engaged in school
Deworming also has significant spillover effects, meaning that other members of the society who do not get treatment benefit, as there are fewer infections in the environment. This is particularly important for children who are too immature to be treated but for whom worms can considerably impair cognitive development.
Why do children need deworming?
Children are most exposed to worm infections, as their immune system is not yet fully developed. Untreated worm diseases prevent children’s healthy growth, create poor nutrition and decrease their capacity to concentrate and learn.
The treatment is uncomplicated, safe, effective and free of charge. A single dose of deworming medication drastically reduces the number of worms in each kid. The regular treatment adds to good health and nutrition for children of school age, which in turn drives to increased enrolment and attendance, reduced class routine and better educational achievement. Children need these deworming medicines to grow healthier and learn better in school.
National Deworming Day 2019:
Aiming to intensify efforts towards STH control among children in India, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India (GoI) observes the National Deworming Day (NDD) bi-annually on 10th February and 10th August in all states and UTs followed by mop-up activities.
This year the NDD is being conducted on 8th February and mop-up day on the 14th February. The biennial round is being conducted on August 8 accompanied by mop-up activities on August 16.
The Mop-Up Day (MUD) on 14th February 2019 and August 16th 2019 is being arranged with the intent of deworming children who missed the dose on February 10th and August 8th sequentially.
All Government and Government aided schools and Anganwadi Centres will be the places for implementation of National Deworming Day across the country. Currently, most extensive single-day public health program in the world, the National Deworming Day this year is placed to reach 32.81 crore children and adolescents in 30 states, in the age group of 1-19 years.
The NDD is being achieved through the combined efforts of the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Image Courtesy: Ksmu.org