National Deworming Day’s second round to target 11 crore children

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New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) To tackle worm infections in children, the Health Ministry has decided to start its second round of National Deworming Day (NDD), 2017, to target 11 crore children across the country.

A total of 7.8 crore children are targeted in private schools and 3.5 crore of them will be covered in this programme through Anganwadi workers and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs).

The programme on August 10 will be conducted in 33 states followed by mop-up activities on August 17 targeting 31 crore children.

According to the Health Ministry, this is one of the largest public health programmes reaching a large number of children during a short period.

The NDD programme was launched in 2015 as the World Health Organisation estimates that 220 million children below 14 years of age are at risk of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) infections in India. The first NDD round of 2017 implemented in February covered 26 crore children with a coverage of 89 per cent.

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The NDD programme is organised twice in a year covering all the children from 1-19 years of age except the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where deworming is carried out once in a year. The STH prevalence in these two states is less than 20 per cent.

Under the initiative, all the children are provided deworming tablet in schools and anganwadis. The deworming has the potential to improve nutritional status of children. The deworming tablet called ‘Albendazole’ is a safe and efficacious drug for controlling worm infestation.

“During NDD, besides the deworming tablet, various health promotion activities related to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are also being organised in schools and anganwadis,” said a statement from the ministry.

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.

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