Chennai: Ten-year-old Soundarya often complained of stomach ache and spent sleepless nights due to the unbearable pain. Allopathy and homeopathic doctors treated her for various illnesses such as gastric issues, indigestion and infections, which went futile.
Later it was diagnosed that she was suffering from intestinal worm infections. Soundarya is not the only one, but more than 20 crore children in India suffer from parasitic worm infections as per World Health Organisation.
To reduce the burden of such large number of worm diseases, the ministry of health and family welfare launched National Deworming Day in 2015 as part of National Health Mission.
The fourth phase of National Deworming Day was launched by the ministry on Thursday to prevent all children and adults aged between 1 and 19 from diseases such as Ascariasis, Helminthiasis, hookworm disease, and pinworm infection that are caused by parasitic worms. The health department undertook deworming in all corporation schools in the city, with focus on prevention of dengue among children.
“Students of corporation schools, government schools and government-aided schools were given ‘Albendazole’ , a chewable tablet to prevent parasitic worm infections. Nilavembu Kudineer was also distributed at all schools to the children to prevent them from being affected by dengue. We will also undertake deworming for private and college students soon,” said a health officer.
A mop-up programme to cover the left out children in schools will be conducted on August 17.
An awareness program was held to educate children on parasitic worm infections and dengue prevention, he added.
However, officials at state health department said it is not possible to carry out deworming for around 16.7 lakh population of children aged below 20 in the state.
“The programme should be extended and greater emphasis should be laid on such infections so that deworming can help to improve health, nutrition level and overall cognitive development of children,” the official said.