National Deworming Day campaign in Odisha, aims to reach more than one crore children for better health and improved nutritional status

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Bhubaneswar Drawing attention to importance of de-worming in ensuring better health & improved nutritional status of all children aged 1-19 years, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha in collaboration with UNICEF organized a press meet just ahead of the bi-annual round of National Deworming Day campaign and vitamin A supplementation programme on 6August, 2019.Participants included Director, Family Welfare, Director, SIHFW, Director, Public Health, and Director, Health Services.

Regular deworming prevents children from intestinal parasitic worms that can lead to anaemia, malnutrition, impaired mental, physical & cognitive development and reduced school participation. Under the August round of the National Deworming Day bi-annual campaign, the Odisha government aims to reach approximately 1.3 crore children from 1 to 19 years across all 30 districts, in convergence with major government departments: Health &FW, WCD& MS, S&ME, Panchayati Raj& DW and ST. & SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department.

Addressing the media, Director, Family Welfare, “Given the importance of deworming of children, any child who is not dewormed on National Deworming Day (8thAugust 2019) due to sickness or absenteeism will be administered the tablet on 16thAugust 2019(Mop up Day).” “In addition, the state government will implement the bi-annual Vitamin A supplementation campaign in August 2019. Under this programme all children from 9 months to 5 years will be administered age specific vitamin A dose at the Routine Immunization session sites,”he added.

The Director, Public Health, Government of Odisha, said, “In five districts (Balasore, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Khorda and Nuapada) where there is a prevalence of Lymphatic Filariasis, we are combining the NDD round with Lymphatic Filariasis- Mass Drug Administration campaign (LF-MDA) through door to door visits. This will cover the eligible population two years old and above.”

The Director, State Institute of Health & Family Welfare, emphasized the importance of mass awareness about the campaign. “To generate public awareness information and communication materials for NDD have been specially developed in Odia, with support from UNICEF. This includes materials like radio jingles, wall paintings, TV spots, posters, and social media infographics. Further, to mobilise children in private schools, a special package of information material has been developed.

About the campaign:
The National Deworming Day is one of the largest public health campaignand aims to deworm all children between the ages of 1-19 years through Government, Government-aided, private schools and anganwadi centres.

Nodal teachers, MPHW(F), Anganwadi Workers and ASHAs are orientedby the government and the deworming drug will be administered to children at school and anganwadi centre.

Children between 1-3 years are administered with Albendazole suspension and 3-5 years will be administered with Albendazole tablet at AWC by the anganwadi workers. Children between 6-19 years are administered with Albendazole tablet at government, government-aided and private schools by the teachers of the school. Children between 6-19 years who are out of school are administered with Albendazole tablet at Anganwadi centres by the anganwadi workers and DAMaN –Health volunteers under malaria control programme.

Under NDD, Albendazole tablet / suspension will be administered to all the children aged 1-19 years in 25 districts and to the children aged 1-2 years of MDA districts i.e. Balasore Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Khorda and Nuapada. In the five MDA districts all the eligible population above 2 years of age will be administered with Albendazole and microfilaria drugs.

Issue background:
Soil-transmitted helminthes (STH) infections are among the most common infections worldwide and affect the poorest and most deprived communities.They are transmitted by eggs present in human faeces which in turn contaminate soil in areas where sanitation is poor.Worm infection interferes with nutrient uptake, can lead to anaemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development. They pose a serious threat to children’s health, education and long term livelihood potential. Infected children are often to sick and tired to concentrate at school, or attend at all.

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