We are proud and excited to announce that Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health is launching a national deworming program targeting school-age children. Ethiopia has one of the highest burdens of neglected tropical diseases in the world, with over 10M children at risk for schistosomiasis and 18M children at risk for soil-transmitted helminths. Both are types of parasitic worms. In addition to Ethiopia’s groundbreaking national program, Evidence Action also works with the national government in Kenya, state and national governments in India, and in Vietnam on school-based deworming efforts. The press release is below.
Ethiopia Launches National Deworming Program Targeting Children
National Program to treat one of the largest at-risk school-age populations in the world for parasitic worms.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – January 7th, 2015 – The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health is launching a groundbreaking national school-based deworming program to treat at-risk school-age children for intestinal worms and schistosomiasis across the country.
Ethiopia will target the treatment of at least 80% of children at risk for parasitic worms by 2020, in line with World Health Organization goals and the Ethiopian Master Plan for Neglected Tropical Diseases. Ethiopia has one of the highest burdens of neglected tropical diseases in the world, with over 10M children at risk for schistosomiasis and 18M children at risk for soil-transmitted helminths — types of parasitic worms.
Helminth and schistosomiasis infections interfere with nutrient uptake in children; can lead to anemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development; and pose a serious threat to children’s health, education, and productivity.
With the new national program, the Ethiopian government will treat one of the largest at-risk school-age populations in the world. Ethiopia’s ambitious national school-based deworming program will leverage funding from a variety of sources including the Federal Ministry of Health, private donors, the END Fund, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative and Evidence Action, two non-governmental organizations, will provide technical assistance to the national program.
The launch of the national deworming program comes in the wake of a series of neglected tropical disease meetings in Addis including the 20th Session of the World Health Organization’s Joint Action Forum and the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance and the STH Coalition convenings, with representatives from over 20 countries in attendance.
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With a background in public health having developed a deep interest in infectious disease dynamics, i am quite delighted to read about the move made by the FMoH of Ethiopia. Evidence on the effectiveness and impact of school based de-worming can never be underestimated as a lot of research based evidence from similar context has confirmed the benefits of this noble initiative.