IMA to support the adherence of National Deworming Day on February 10th
New Delhi, February 7, 2016: On February 10, 2015, National Deworming Day was in effect in 11 states and Union Territories including Haryana, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. This year it will be observed across India.
Studies linking the impact of worm infections on literacy rates have been recently conducted in the United States showing that literacy levels are lowered by 13%, and downward impact on earnings of 43% occur later in life. Research in West Africa have shown mass deworming programs based in schools reduce absenteeism by 25%.
‘Children in India,’ a 2012 report by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, Government of India, found that 19.8% of children under the age of five years are wasted, with 48% of them being malnourished. This showed malnourishment across half of the national population.
Over 100 million children at risk of parasitic worms were included last year, covering schools and Anganwadi centers. Over three days, these children were given chewable Albendazole. This year Albendazole will be distributed to all children aged 1-19 years pan India, including both private and public sectors. Given that Albendazole is an inexpensive drug, total coverage without subsidy is a welcome step to curbing worm infections.
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, “The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is pitching in to help the government with the implementation of this program, and has requested all its 2.5-lakh members to spread the message. This would mean individual healthcare facilities doing their bit to contribute the stem of worm infestation.”
An increasingly obsolete affliction in developed settings, India must work tirelessly to control the spread of parasitic worms in vulnerable youth.