As per the World Health Organization report of 2019, over 1.5 billion people, which means 24% of the world’s population are the victim of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections. Most of the infected people are found in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China and East Asia. Apart from this 836 million children are living at risk of parasitic worm infections globally. The overall condition of the Indian children is shabby, according to a report of WHO as 65 per cent Indian children less than 14-year of age are at the high risk of STH infections. To pay cognizance of the alarming situation, National Deforming Day (NDD) is celebrated on February 10 every year to continue the fight to save children from worm infections.
Prevention: Cleanliness and hygienic lifestyle. Stop open-defecation. Always keep the hands of children aged 1-19 clean. Make them wash their hands before eating anything.
Symptoms: Deworming may lead to nausea, mild abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fatigue.
Here is why it’s important to have a National Deforming Day.
Keeping in mind the importance of health, the government has taken an initiative to make every child worm-free in the country. Hence, National Deworming Day (NDD) has been celebrated every year on February 10 with the purpose to curb intestinal worm infections in the children between the age group of 1-19 years. This significant step by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has raised awareness regarding the health of the children in their parents and guardians.
Two ministries on the same mission
The joint venture of two ministries namely Women and Child Development and Human Resource Development, where Anganwadi workers and teachers have been assigned the duty to reach out to various schools and Anganwadi kendras to distribute medicines to children and adolescents. Their target is to touch 24.44 crore children and adolescents in states and union territories.
ASHA to remove worm infections
Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers have been working shoulder to shoulder with other organisations and helping people to be aware of the ill effects of worm infections. Albendazole tablets for deworming is cost-effective and effective medication to control worm infections in children. Health activists and NGOs are providing tablets in schools and Anganwadi kendras to overcome deadly infections.
Parasitic worms a curse
National Deworming Day has been focussing on to lessen the threat of parasitic worm infections among children, which is a matter of grave concern. It has affected more than 241 million children in the country. India is on the receiving end with the highest number of cases of soil-transmitted helminths parasitic worms were detected. Parasitic worms are responsible for anaemia, malnourishment and below-par mental and physical development.
Worms threaten the health of children
Chronic worm infections are commonly found and are widespread among children. Most of the time, it is considered a normal symptom of children rather than a threat. But its impact is very dangerous and may turn into life-threatening. Those children who are infected with worms remain irregular in attending school on a regular basis, while those who go to school in this condition most of the time unable to concentrate on their study due to the infection and lack of energy.
The National Deworming Day along with Swachh Bharat Mission campaigns have ensured to maintain cleanliness and hygiene and helped to control worm infestation.
Awareness key to health
Awareness is also being run to sensitise the people of all walks of life about the harmful effects of worm infections on children.
Healthy and hygienic practices should be applied which would keep the children and the communities safe from worm infections. At present children are having junk food, drinking soft drinks which penetrate infections. Therefore, homely prepared food should be preferred to remain infection-free and healthy.