Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) disproportionately affect people living in poverty, some of whom may be difficult to reach through traditional mass drug administration (MDA). We have attended the NTD NGO Network (NNN) conference for the past several years to share lessons from our work, and learn from our colleagues and partners in the NTD space. In September of this year, members of our global deworming team again participated in the conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and convened a workshop titled Increasing inclusion of hard-to-reach groups using lessons and strategies from within and outside the NTD community.
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.
Want to know what the Deworm the World Initiative's is doing in India? Take a look!
What does it take to become a global leader in tackling debilitating parasitic worms in children? Speed and willingness to learn from other countries who have already done it.
This is the story of Ethiopia where in January of this year, the Federal Ministry of Health announced a national school-based deworming program that will treat over 80% of at-risk children for parasitic worms (namely, soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis) by 2020. In the course of the next five years, the Ministry of Health will collaborate with teachers and health extension workers to distribute over 100 million worm treatments to at-risk children in all corners of this vast country.
Today, Evidence Action, together with more than 90 other organizations, co-signed an open letter to the leaders of the G7 countries to urge them to support ending neglected tropical diseases including parasitic worms. Despite growing awareness about the human and economic costs of neglected tropical diseases, there is a $220 million global annual funding gap for treatment. This stands in the way of reaching the 2020 treatment targets the World Health Organization has established. Read the letter here.