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National Deworming Day

What is the purpose of National Deworming Day?

1. India has the highest burden of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) in the world.

2. Around 241 million children in the school-going population are at risk of parasitic worm infections in the country.

3. This infection affects children, reduces their nutrient uptake and increases the risk of anemia.

4. India also aims to reduce and eradicate STH infection in 75% of the school children as per the WHO’s target.

5. So, National Deworming Day Programme was started by the Government of India in 2015.

Why are intestinal worms harmful?

1. Intestinal worms are parasites living in the human intestines and consume nutrients and vitamins consumed by a child.

2. Three main types of STH that infect people are:

a) Roundworm

b) Whipworm

c) Hookworms

3. They depend on the human body for their food and survival and grows exponentially.

4. It causes anemia, malnutrition, and impaired mental, physical and cognitive development thereby reducing school participation.

Which are the means of transmission?

1. Eggs produced by the adult worms in the intestine are transmitted through the feces of infected people.

2. These eggs contaminate the soil in areas with inadequate water and unhygienic sanitation practices.

3. Eggs attached to vegetables infect children when they are not carefully cooked, washed or peeled.

4. Children also get infected by ingesting the contaminated soil while playing.

5. Also, mature larvae of Hookworms in the contaminated soil can actively penetrate the skin while walking barefoot.

How has India performed?

1. Albendazole tablets are distributed to pre-school and school-going children.

2. This is an effective drug and doesn’t have any significant adverse effects.

3. As per WHO, in 2015, India has cleared parasitic worms’ infection among 50% of the school-going children in 14 states as a result of these efforts.

4. This achievement was in line with WHO’s target of eradication of the infection in 50% of schoolchildren by 2015.

5. In all states except Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the programme is carried out two times a year. (deworming tablets are given twice a year on 10th February and 10th August).

6. This became achievable because of the participation of different ministries in the programme.

Where lies the long-term solution?

1. Use toilets instead of open defecation.

2. Maintenance of hygiene with proper hand wash, washing of fruits and vegetables, etc.

3. Consumption of uncooked food should be avoided.

4. Clean and safe drinking water supply needs to be ensured through programmes like Har Ghar Jal that aims to provide tap water to each household.

5. Children should not play barefoot in soil.

6. Community-level de-worming programme can help in ensuring no child is left out of the programme.