GUWAHATI, Sept 9 - The Kamrup (Metro) district has set a target of around 2,50,000 children in the age group of 1 to 19 years to be administered deworming tablets tomorrow to mark the National Deworming Day (NDD) along with the other districts of Assam.
Dr Ganesh Saikia, Joint Director of Health Services, informed that with an aim to intensify efforts towards Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STHs) control among children in India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to observe the NDD across the country.
The NDD will be followed by a mop-up day (MUD) from September 11 to September 17 with the intent of deworming children who fail to make it on September 10.
Dr Saikia informed that the District Health Society has jointly planned the programme in consonance with the Education and the Social Welfare departments to administer deworming tablets to the children of all schools, anganwadi centres, out-of-school and unregistered children and children from orphanages, special shelter homes and streetchildren.
For this, a district coordination committee meeting and a workshop with the line department officials have been organised. An orientation programme for government school teachers was also held to reorient them on deworming.
The Joint Director of Health Services informed that the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 241 million children between the ages of 1 and 19 years are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms in India, known as Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STHs). These children represent approximately 68 per cent of children in this age group and approximately 28 per cent of the number of children are estimated to be at risk of STH infections globally.
These parasitic infections result from poor sanitation and hygiene, and are easily transmitted among children through contact with infected soil. The consequences of chronic worm infestation in children are both widespread and debilitating. Worms can cause anaemia and undernutrition, thereby impairing mental and physical development. He informed that the objective of the NDD is to deworm all preschool and school-age children between the ages of 1-19 years through the platform of schools and anganwadi centres in order to improve their overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.
He informed that while the school students would be administered deworming tablets by the school teachers, at anganwadi centres anganwadi workers would administer deworming tablets to their children with the help of ASHAs and ANMs, and those children who are not enrolled in schools and anganwadi centres would be tracked by ASHAs and ANMs and given deworming tablets from September 10 to 17.
This year, the District Health Society has also targeted children at orphanages, special shelter homes and streetchildren, who are extremely vulnerable to worm infestation.
The Joint Director of Health Services has appealed to the public and guardians of the children to deworm their wards for their overall mental and physical development and not to get panicky.
He said that the deworming tablet is completely safe and secure to be consumed except mild adverse events in some rare cases. To combat any unseen emergencies, 10 rapid medical response teams have also been formed in the district.