World Health Organization 64% of the Indian population less than 14 years are at risk of Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) infections.
Effect of STH on the nutritional status of children
Worms impair the nutritional status of people they infect in multiple ways:
Development and educational consequences of worms in children
Worms have negative effects on the mental and physical development of children. Children with worms are often underweight and have stunted growth. Heavy infections often make children too sick or too tired to concentrate at or even attend school. Long term, children not treated for worms are shown to earn less as adults.
Effect of worms on child mortality
Intestinal worm infections affect child morbidity, not mortality. There is not rigorous evidence that suggests that worms affect child mortality but there is ample evidence that worms fundamentally affect the quality of children’s lives and negatively impact their access to health, education and livelihoods.
Infections can be prevented by taking precautions, including:
Albendazole and Mebendazole are the names of the deworming drugs used by the Government of India and is a safe treatment for intestinal worms. The recommended dosage is as follows
Appropriate administration of tablets to children between the ages of 1 and 3 years is important. The tablet should be broken and crushed between 2 spoons, then safe water added to help administer the drug. The older children should chew the tablet and if required should consume some water.
Side effects of deworming treatment
The deworming treatment has very few side effects. There may be some mild side effects like dizziness, nausea, headache, and vomiting, all likely due to the worms being passed through the child’s body. These side effects disappear after some time. Side effects are usually experienced by children with high infections. If symptoms do not go away within 24 hours, or if they are very severe, the child is probably experiencing something unrelated to the treatment and should be taken to the nearest health facility.
Rigorous studies have shown that deworming has a significant impact on the health, education and livelihoods of treated children. Outcomes of deworming can include:
Deworming also has important spillover effects, meaning that other members of the community who do not receive treatment benefit, as there are fewer worms in the environment. This is especially important for children who are too young to be treated but for whom worms can greatly impair cognitive development.
With an aim 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. The NDD is being conducted on 8th February and mop up day on the 14th February. The biennial round (recommended in selected states based on worm prevalence data) is being conducted on August 8 followed by a mop-up activities on August 16. The Mop-Up Day (MUD) on 14th February and August 16th isnbeing organised with the intent of deworming children who missed the dose on February 10th and August 8th respectively. All Government and Government aided schools and anganwadi centers will be the sites for implementation of National Deworming Day across the country.
Currently largest single day public health program in the world, the National Deworming Day this year is set to reach 32.81 crore children and adolescents in 30 states/UTs, in the age group of 1-19 years.
Target audience - All children (both boys and girls) in the age group of 1-19 years.
The NDD is being implemented through the combined efforts of Department of School Education and Literacy under Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Jal Shakti.