IMA to observe National Deworming Day on February 10th
New Delhi, February 9, 2016: In an attempt to boost mass de-worming, the Indian Medical Association has requested all its 2.6-lakh members spread across 30 State and 1700 local branches to observe Wednesday, 10th February as National De-worming Day. All members have been asked to distribute or prescribe chewable Albendazole to children in the age group of 1-19 years. National Deworming day is a groundbreaking initiative focused on reducing the threat of parasitic worm infections, a widespread health issue affecting over 241 million children in India alone. Last year it was observed in 11 states and Union Territories including Haryana, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. This year it will be implemented Nation-wide.
India has the highest burden of soil-transmitted helminths--parasitic worms--in the world. Parasitic worms in children interfere with nutrient uptake, and can contribute to anemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development. According to the 2012 report 'Children in India', published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Govt. of India, 48% of children under the age of five years are stunted and 19.8% are wasted, indicating that half of the country's children are malnourished.
Sharing IMA’s viewpoint, Dr. SS Agarwal, National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K.K.Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India and Honorary Secretary General IMA said, “It is the responsibility of each and every doctor in our country to counsel their patients about the importance of taking deworming tablets and must ensure that all their patients are dewormed within the week of National Deworming Day. IMA and Heart Care Foundation of India have created a special ‘Worms and Ladders’ game, based on the concept of the popular board-game snakes and ladders with the aim of raising awareness about aimed at raising awareness amongst school children about the harmful effects parasitic worms can have on their overall health and well-being. The purpose of mass de-worming is to reduce the worm load. Children can get re-infected but repeated treatment ensures reduction in worm density”.
Mass de-worming helps in reducing morbidity and mortality and school absenteeism. Soil transmitted worm infestation occur through soil contaminated with fecal metal. The common worms are round worms and hook worms.
On 10th February, IMA is also organizing a De-worming Camp at IMA Headquarters, IMA House, Indraprastha Marg, New Delhi, where free chewable Albendazole will be distributed to all children. An increasingly obsolete affliction in developed settings, India must work tirelessly to control the spread of parasitic worms in vulnerable youth.