Source: PIB and National Health Portal
According to World Health Organization 241 million children between the ages of 1 and 14 years are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms in India, also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH). Under the National Health Mission, National Deworming Day (NDD) was launched in February 2015 in 277 districts of 11 States/UT, including Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Tripura. Children of 1 to 19 years were provided deworming treatment during the campaign. Since 2016, the NDD programme has been scaled up to cover all districts across the country.
Objective of National Deworming Day:
The objective of National Deworming Day is to deworm all preschool and school-age children (enrolled and not enrolled) between the ages of 1-19 years through the platform of schools and Anganwadi Centers in order to improve their overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.
Key Highlights about NDD
- The National Deworming Day is an initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to make every child in the country worm free.
- This is one of the largest public health programs reaching large number of children during a short period.
- During NDD, single dose of albendazole is administered to children from 1-19 years of age group through the platform of schools and anganwadi centres.
- Key stakeholders:
- The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the nodal agency for providing all States/UTs with guidelines related to National Deworming Day (NDD) implementation at all levels.
- The programme is being implemented through the combined efforts of the Department of School Education and Literacy under Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation
- Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Urban Development, and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) also provide support to deworming program.
- NDD Implementation: NDD (first round) is conducted on February 10 each year. Bi-annual round of deworming(Based on STH prevalence data made available by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) ) is recommended in the States where prevalence of STH infection is more than 20% and annual round in other (less than 20% prevalence) states. Only two States namely Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have reported less than 20% prevalence and recommended for annual round. All the remaining States/UTs are implementing bi-annual round of deworming.
- To increase programme outreach to private schools and maximize deworming benefits for large number of children various awareness activities (media mix) are involved under the programme.
Helminths (worms) which are transmitted through soil contaminated with faecal matter are called soil-transmitted helminths (Intestinal parasitic worms). Roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale) are worms that infect people.
- Adult worms live in human intestines for food and survival and produce thousands of eggs each day.
- Eggs are passed in the faeces of an infected person.
- Infected people who defecate outdoors spread worm eggs in the soil.
- Eggs contaminate the soil and spread infection in several ways: ─
- Ingested through vegetables that are not carefully cooked, washed or peeled;
- ingested from contaminated water sources;
- ingested by children who play in soil and then put their hands in their mouths without washing them.
STH infections can lead to anemia, malnutrition, impaired mental and physical & cognitive development, and reduced school participation.
STH Infections can be prevented by:
- Using sanitary toilets, not defecating outside
- Hand-washing, particularly before eating and after using toilets
- Wearing slippers and shoes
- Washing fruits and vegetables in safe and clean water
- Eating properly cooked food