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Last week, the Government of Delhi launched a mass school-based deworming exercise throughout the National Capital Territory (NCT) targeting 3.6 million school-age and preschool children. The "Worm Free Childhood" initiative has been implemented under the school health scheme Chacha Nehru Sehat Yojna led by Delhi’s Directorate of Health Services and supported by Deworm the World (DtW).
Deworm the world improves the health and education of school-age children across the globe by supporting governments and development partners to expand school-based deworming programs. Over 600 million school-age children are infected with parasitic worms. These infections are chronic and widespread, harming children’s health and development and limiting their participation in school.
School-based deworming is universally recognized as a safe, simple and cost-effective solution. The benefits of school-based deworming are both immediate and enduring. Regular treatment can reduce school absenteeism by 25% and increase adult earnings by over 20%, and at a cost of less than 50 US cents per child per year.
On Tuesday 21st of February, the dedicated "Deworming Day" in Delhi saw that deworming drugs were administered to children in Delhi Government schools, MCD schools, NDMC schools and anganwadis (preschools) by teachers in schools and by anganwadi workers in anganwadi centers.
Today, a "Mop-up Day" will follow to provide treatment to children who are not present on deworming day, so as to ensure maximum coverage of the target population.
The Government of Delhi determined that mass deworming in schools was an important step in improving the education and health of school-age and preschool children based on the results of a worm prevalence study conducted by DtW in 2011.
This study looked at 3650 children from Delhi government schools, MCD schools and slums across the National Capital Territory. The study found an average prevalence for soil-transmitted helminths of 16.09% across Delhi, with a significantly higher average prevalence in MCD schools (18.86%) and slums (18.79%) compared to Delhi government schools (9.91 %).
The Government of Delhi with the support of DtW is currently conducting monitoring and evaluation of the program to determine how many children are reached by this first mass deworming exercise; treatment figures and coverage will be released as soon as the data are available.
A robust partnership was taken to ensure a multi-sectorial approach for the implementation of this programme was taken.
Those involved in deworming targeting 3.6 million children in Delhi were:
Read the news article on: Mass School-Based Deworming Launched in Delhi
Read a first hand account from DtW's communications contact in Delhi: A Report From the Field: Delhi Deworming Launch Event
For other deworming initiatives in Indiasee: Bihar School-Based Deworming Program and theAndhra Pradesh School Based Deworming Program.