Second Biannual National Deworming Day to Tackle Worm Infections in Children

Bangalore, 11 August 2017: In order to combat the public health threat of intestinal worm infections in children aged 1-19, the Government of India will observe the second biannual National Deworming Day on 10 August 2017. A mop-up day will be held on 17 August to deworm any child who could not be dewormed on National Deworming Day.

Launched in2015, the annual round of National Deworming Day is observed nationallyon 10 February, with a mop-up day on 15 February.  Since 2016,the biannual round in August is being observed by select states based on theirintestinal worm prevalence data. 

India hasthe highest burden of intestinal worm infections in the world, with the WorldHealth Organization estimating in 2014 that over 22 crore Indian children aged1-14 years are at risk. Worm infections can act as a deterrent to children’sgrowth and development, and can adversely impact performance in preschool andschool, and livelihood potential later in life. Deworming with the safe andbeneficial Albendazole 400 mg tablet is an effective solution to controllingintestinal worm infections. 

Schools andpreschools (anganwadis) are ideal platforms for such a program,reaching children in their natural environment in a coordinated,cost-effective, and systematic way. The program is observed in all governmentand government-aided schools, and as of February 2016 private schools are alsopart of National Deworming Day. Children who are out of school, live inhard-to-reach areas, and are from vulnerable populations are mobilized by ASHAsto be dewormed at anganwadis on National Deworming Day. 

Dewormingmay have very few side effects in some children. Those with high worminfections might experience nausea, mild abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea,and fatigue. In line with the guidance from the Ministry of Health and FamilyWelfare and World Health Organization, comprehensive adverse event protocolshave been put in place. In addition to deworming, maintaining healthy and hygienicpractices will help children and communities remain safe from intestinal worminfections.  

The Ministryof Health and Family Welfare envisions an open-defecation-free India, whichcould potentially reduce the overall worm burden in a community. The effortsof Swach Bharat Abhiyan will further facilitate the progressand benefits of the National Deworming Day. 

NationalDeworming Day is conducted with technical assistance from the World HealthOrganization, National Centre for Disease Control, and Evidence Action.

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