DOH: Deworming drive targets 16M children

SIXTEEN million school children were estimated to have participated in the National School Deworming Day of the Department of Health (DOH) in a bid to save them from parasitic worms.

On Wednesday’s program launch in Mandaluyong City, DOH Secretary Janette Garin said they targeted 16 million students from kindergarten to Grade 6, or children aged 5 to 12, enrolled in public schools.

“Kung maubos natin sa pamamagitan ng pagpupurga ang kahihitnan natin is darating yung panahon na ang lahat ng bata ay hindi na naglalabas ng bulate,” said Garin.

According to WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr Julie Hall, the DOH’s National School Deworming Day is the largest national deworming program in the world.

“Once it is able to achieve 16 million children, which is its target, it will be the biggest deworming campaign in the world. It is really a significant achievement,” said Hall.

DOH Undersecretary Vicente Belizario said though deworming will not make children immune from parasitic worms.

“Nagkaroon ka na before, puwede ka magkaroon ulit over and over,” he said.

Belizario said this is the reason why the government is again looking at holding the activity twice a year.

Currently, the DOH said about 66 percent of school children have soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) inside their bodies.

Garin said such figure is not really surprising since hookworms are endemic in the country.

“Hookworms are actually endemic in the entire Philippines. Lahat po kasi nasa soil siya,” she said.

Belizario said school children with worms are prone to problems in their health and nutrition, as well as possible effects in their performances in school.

“Ang ayaw natin ay yung PPP or pandak (short), payat (thin), at poor performance in schools,” said Belizario.

Intestinal worms can cause poor physical growth, poor intellectual development and impaired cognitive functions in children. (HDT/Sunnex)

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