Mission on to deworm 2 crore children in state

National Deworming Day observed on February 10 every year by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare kicked off across the state with a primary aim to deworm two crore children in the age group between 1 year and 19 years. The children included those in anganwadis, schools and out of school. The children were given albendazole tablets, as part of the drive.
A teacher distributes deworming tablets to the girls  in a government school in Chennai
A teacher distributes deworming tablets to the girls in a government school in Chennai


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.

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