KOZHIKODE: The surging migrant population in the state resorts to open defecation causing the rise in the soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) or parasitic worms, say health officials of the integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) under the health department. According to WHO, Kerala registered 47.4 per cent STH diseases, says IDSP state coordinator Dr M. Umarul Farook.
“It was based on the WHO warning that August 10 is observed as the first national deworming day. Children are the most common victims of the disease as the presence of intestinal worms results in anaemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development,” he said. On August 10, people in the age group of 1-19 would be given albendazole tablets through anganwadis, schools and through house visits by ASHA workers.
“The increasing migrant population has caused the recent spread of infectious diseases such as falsiparum malaria, leprosy, tuberculosis etc. As these labourers shift from one place to another, there is no proper mechanism to trace and immunise them,” he said. According to district RCH (reproductive child health) officer, Dr Sarala Nair, many migrant labourers are put up in crammed camps sans proper sanitation facility.
“Open defecation may cause the spread of hook worms to human body. Children would lose interest in studies and suffer from anaemia as the food nutrients are eaten by the worms in the body,” she explained. More than 25 lakh migrant labourers are in the state and there is no system in place to check them. “We are planning a health registration system for them,” a top official at the directorate of health services (DHS) told DC. The second dose of albendazole would be given after six months.