National Deworming Day 2019: Why is it important?

The National Deworming Day is celebrated in India every year on 10 February and 10 August with a global aim of treating intestinal worm infections in all children aged between 1- 14 years.

 

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National Deworming Day:

 

The National Deworming Day is a great initiative of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to make each and every child of the country worm free. It is one of the largest public health programs to reach a large number of children during a short period.

 

Around 836 million children are at risk of worm infections globally. According to the World Health Organization, around 241 million children between the ages of 1 and 14 years are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms in India, which is also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH).

 

About Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH):

 

Helminths (worms), which are transmitted through soil contaminated are called soil-transmitted helminths, which are also known as parasitic intestinal worms. Whipworm (Trichuris trichiura), roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale) are worms that infect people.

 

Soil-Transmitted Helminths Transmission:

 

Adult worms stay in human intestines for survival and food and produce thousands of eggs each day.

 

  • These eggs are moved in the faecal of infected person.

 

  • Infected people who poop outdoors spread worm eggs in the soil.

 

Eggs contaminate the soil and spread infection in various different ways: ─

 

  • Absorbed through vegetables that are not carefully cooked, washed or peeled;

 

  • Ingested through contaminated water sources;

 

  • Absorbed by children who play in soil and keep their hands in their mouths without cleaning them.

 

  • STH infections can lead to malnutrition, anemia, impaired mental and physical & cognitive development, and reduced school participation.

 

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How can Soil-Transmitted Helminths Infections be Prevented?

 

● Using sanitary toilets, and not defecating outside

 

● Hand-washing properly, particularly after using toilets and before eating.

 

● Wearing shoes or slippers

 

● Washing fruits and vegetables in clean water

 

●Eating properly cooked food

 

The Necessity of Deworming Children:

 

Worm infections can cause malnourishment, anemia, impaired physical and mental development; which can lead to a serious threat to children’s health, productivity and education. The infected children are not able to concentrate on their studies and they need to work very hard to put up their daily activities.

 

The Necessity of Deworming Programme in India:

 

According to the World Health Organization, India has the highest number of Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) in the world, around with 220 million children of aged 1to14 years estimated to be at risk of worm infections. Around 7 out of 10 children between the age of 6 months to 5 years are anemic, with even more higher rates of anemia in rural areas, the 2006 National Family Health Survey reported.

 

The Objective of National Deworming Day:

 

The objective of National Deworming Day is to deworm all the children of preschool and school-age (whether they are enrolled and non-enrolled) between the ages of 1-14 years through the schools and Anganwadi Centers to improve their overall health, nutritional status, quality of life and access to education.

 

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