Parasitic worms, or soil-transmitted helminths (STH), are among the most prevalent causes of illness among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations, especially children. Close to a quarter of the world’s population is infected with at least one species of STH, and globally an estimated 870 million children are at risk of a new infection
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Deworm the World
Photo impressions from the preparation for the last National Deworming Day round in India. Community mobilization and promotion of the Deworming Day is important to increase coverage and get community and political buy-in for the largest, single-day community health program in the world.
Scale is all about execution. This means constantly evaluating and improving our programs. We collect data on our key performance indicators, in order to make data-driven and evidence-based decisions on what works and on what we need to change. We collect data in a variety of ways but have been pushing hard to increase real-time, tech-enabled monitoring of our performance, and quick, streamlined, and action-oriented analysis. Here is what we are doing, with a frank assessment on how it’s going.
The Government of India held National Deworming Day 2016 on February 10, deworming 179 million children in 1.8 million preschools and schools. Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative is the technical assistance provider to the Government of India, and is also working closely with seven state governments to implement National Deworming Day.
To increase the number of children dewormed this year, we wanted to bring private schools into the fold of this government-led program that especially target poorer children. And we did: for the first time, 170,000 private schools dewormed their pupils across the country.
National Deworming Day India - A Successful Partnership Between the Government of India and Evidence Action
Earlier this year, India held the largest public health event conducted in one day: The country dewormed 179 million children in almost all states and Union territories, according to the government’s latest figure. Deworming took place in 810,000 government schools, 800,000 preschools (anganwadi centers) and, for the first time, in 170,000 private schools. School-based deworming leverages anganwadi workers and teachers to deliver safe, simple treatment for parasitic worms.
Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative is the principal technical assistance provider to the Government of India’s National Deworming Day and our team was instrumental in making it happen.
Today, Evidence Action welcomes the release of a new study that shows that mass deworming of children has a significant positive effect on child weight and is highly cost effective, with a weight gain per dollar 35 times greater than school feeding programs.
This study strongly refutes findings from a previous critique of mass deworming of children in developing countries with high levels of parasitic worms, a Cochrane meta analysis by Taylor-Robinson et al (2015.) that questioned the long-standing World Health Organization (WHO) policy supporting mass deworming.
The new research, “Does Mass Deworming Affect Child Nutrition?: Meta-analysis, Cost-Effectiveness, and Statistical Power” was authored by Kevin Croke, Joan Hamory Hicks, Eric Hsu, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel.
This week, the Cross River State Ministry of Health’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) unit launched its inaugural statewide school-based deworming exercise that will treat against two neglected tropical diseases that are particularly common in children: schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH). The school-based deworming exercise will cover 11 of the 18 local government areas in Cross River for the first time, and is targeting 600,000 at-risk school-aged children in primary and junior secondary public and private schools.
On April 28 and 29, more than 700,000 primary school children across four provinces in northern Vietnam will line up in their classrooms to receive a deworming tablet. 8.5 million children in Vietnam are at risk of parasitic worm infections that can harm their health, development, and school participation.
We are excited to announce that Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative supports the Government of Vietnam as it strengthens and improves school-based deworming to keep children healthy and in school. Read more about out partnership there, and about what we are doing.
Regular mass deworming of children once or twice a year has greatly contributed to the reductionin the prevalence of worms in several countries. National, school-based deworming programs are the most efficient and cost-effective way to reach kids, and are a cornerstone of addressing the public health threat of STH and schistosomiasis in a growing number of countries.
But there is a growing recognition that treatment of children alone might not be sufficient to break the transmission of worm infections. Infected adults constitute a latent reservoir of worm eggs and present a significant re-infection risk to children, in particular for hookworm, one of the three STH. So, how do we reduce the reinfection of children by treating adults? Enter Take Up, a new research project of Evidence Action's Deworm the World Initiative.
As we are are getting ready to support the Indian government with National Deworming Day in 2016, we are proud to announce that we have recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian state of Telangana.
It takes a community of committed people to reach millions. Our Deworm the World staff and partners in Ethiopia and Kenya, through a pioneering international collaboration, are working together to ramp up a successful national school-based deworming program in Ethiopia.
Want to know what the Deworm the World Initiative's is doing in India? Take a look!