According to the National Family Health Survey (2015-2016), anaemia among children under the age of five is as high as 50.7 per cent and as many as 27.1 per cent was stunted and 23.8 were underweight, in the state. Deworming is a huge step towards preventing anaemia and nutritional deficiencies among children. Talking to DTNext Dr K Koldandaisamy, said that the drive was an interim solution.
“The tablets are administered twice or thrice a year, but it is still an interim solution. Our main aim is to promote the use of toilets in schools and homes, handwashing and nail cutting habits, apart from ensuring washing of vegetables and fruit and use of footwear,” he said, pointing out that 100 per cent use of toilets to reduce worm load in the environment was a longdrawn process.
He added that four departments have been involved in the campaign- Public Health, Education Department, ICDS and Rural Development. City based neonatologist-paediatrician Dr Deepa Hariharan, said that while such campaigns yielded results, mass awareness on the need for deworming would be more effective.
“Even among the educated lot, there are misconceptions about the cause of worms—they think it is due to consumption of sweets or ice creams. Awareness messages from the government emphasising on hygiene could help in the longer run,” she said.