Mass Deworming: It’s Good Public Policy
Intestinal worm infections are among the most widespread diseases globally today that affect more than a billion people especially in low-income countries. These parasites--roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms--affect especially school-age children, causing malnutrition, fatigue, and even organ damage and internal bleeding. Periodic and presumptive mass treatment of every child is inexpensive, considered very safe, and is recommended WHO policy in areas where worms are endemic. A number of countries have made school-based deworming part and parcel of their national health and education policies.
Yet, some have argued that the WHO recommendation of mass treatment of everyone in an affected area is not supported by enough evidence.
In a new paper, authors Amrita Ahuja, Sarah Baird, Michael Kremer et al. argue that mass deworming treatment is not only effective for children, supported by ample and growing rigorous evidence, but also smart educational and economic policy for endemic countries.