Approximately 3.5 million children are at risk for intestinal worms – including hookworm, whipworm and roundworm – in Peru. Even though Peru has experienced significant economic growth over the past decade, a large portion of its population continues to live in poverty, with four out of ten families still lacking access to clean water. Environments like these promote the transmission of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like intestinal worms which can lead to malnutrition and anemia among children.
To address Peru’s NTD burden, the nonprofit organization With support from the Global Network’s END7 campaign, INMED recently launched a study to evaluate the impact of these deworming campaigns on addressing intestinal worm infections and the nutritional status of children in Peru’s Ucayali Region. INMED is collaborating with the Peruvian Institute for Clinical and Experimental Parasitology to complete the study.
The study will provide important insights on how to improve the effectiveness of deworming campaigns and will inform the scale up of deworming campaigns across Peru. Peru’s Ministry of Health has called for semiannual national deworming days and with the support of INMED and Johnson & Johnson, Peru will launch a nationwide campaign to treat millions of children living in NTD-endemic areas of Peru at the end of this year.
The END7-supported study will also build the capacity of local health staff. Already, training has been completed for community health workers to deliver deworming medicines, for laboratory technicians to diagnose intestinal worm infections, and for nurses to carry out nutritional assessments such as measuring children’s weight and height and their hemoglobin levels, an important indicator for anemia. By training local staff, INMED is strengthening Peru’s public health sector and creating a sustainable project that will continue to improve the health of Peruvians.
INMED’s efforts to increase access to NTD treatment among the most vulnerable communities in rural areas of Peru are inspiring. Thanks to the generosity of END7 donors, this project will lay the groundwork for future deworming campaigns that will reach more children at risk for intestinal worms in Peru.