Anambra state to deworm over 2.5 m school children

The Anambra Government in southeast Nigeria says it will de-worm over 2.5 million pre-school and school age children from December 7 to December 9 .

Dr Joe Akabuike, the state Commissioner for Health, who disclosed this in Awka the state capital, said the exercise would cover children aged one to 15 years.

The commissioner said that the state-wide exercise would hold in all public and private primary and junior secondary schools to achieve the desired objectives.

He said that the exercise was aimed at “reducing worm loads on children and enhance their health.”

“The regular de-worming of our children will reduce stunting, improve absorption rate of nutrients ingested through proper feeding, and promote general well being of our children,’’ Akabuike said.

According to him, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends periodic treatment with anthelminthic (de-worming) medicines, without previous individual diagnosis to pre-school and school age living in endemic areas.

“Treatment should be given once a year when the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections in a community is about 20 per cent and twice a year when the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections in the community exceeds 50 per cent.

He added that the intervention would reduce child morbidity by eliminating worm burden.

WHO recommendations

WHO recommends periodic treatment with anthelminthic (deworming) medicines, without previous individual diagnosis to preschool- and school-aged children living in endemic areas.

Treatment should be given once a year when the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections in the community is over 20%, and twice a year when the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections in the community exceeds 50%. This intervention reduces morbidity by reducing the worm burden.

In addition:

  • education on health and hygiene reduces transmission and reinfection by encouraging healthy behaviours;
  • provision of adequate sanitation is also important but not always possible in resource-constrained settings.