Tag Archives: Children Without Worms

Handwashing: Is it really all that simple?

Happy Global Handwashing Day! Today we feature a piece authored by Kerry Gallo of Children Without Worms:

By: Kerry Gallo, Children Without Worms

Since joining Children Without Worms (CWW) earlier this year, I’ve spent most of my time thinking about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)—in particular, intestinal worms in kids, and how deworming medications like albendazole and mebendazole can make kids healthy. But last week, I had the opportunity to step out of the NTD space and into the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) world for a few days by attending the Water and Health: Where Science Meets Policy Conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

I’ve written before about the importance of partnerships between the NTD and WASH sectors. CWW advocates for the WASHED Framework (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Education and Deworming) as a comprehensive strategy for prevention and treatment of intestinal worms. Our role is to partner with drug companies to coordinate the donations of deworming medications, such as albendazole from GlaxoSmithKline and mebendazole from Johnson & Johnson. But since we are not WASH program implementers, we turn to our partners to complement deworming with the administration of hygiene education and improvements to water and sanitation infrastructure.

It was in the role of partner and advocate for WASHED that I attended the conference and met with many colleagues representing various WASH organizations. One event that was discussed with excitement was Global Handwashing Day.

Handwashing—what could be more simple? It seems like such an incredibly basic activity to us, but for kids in low resource settings around the world, it may not be so simple. Continue reading

Safe Water Practices can Help Prevent and Control NTDs

By: Kerry Gallo, Children Without Worms

World Water Week in Stockholm presents an opportunity for those of us working in the field of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to communicate a clear and unified message to the water sector: by working together, we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world.

Treatment through preventive chemotherapy alone does not break the transmission cycle of many NTDs. Many require environmental improvements to water and sanitation systems coupled with behavior change to promote lasting effects on the health of communities. Effective control strategies for several NTDs such as soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), trachoma, and schistosomiasis require that communities have access to water and latrines to break the cycle of infection.

Photo courtesy of USAID

Washing foods and hands with soap and water is a critical barrier against infection from STH and other parasitic worm infections. Face-washing to cleanse the eyes of infectious discharge that attracts disease-carrying flies and washing soiled clothing and bedding prevent the spread of bacteria that cause blinding trachoma. Preventing children and adults from swimming, washing clothes, and collecting water in contaminated streams by providing a source of clean water breaks the transmission cycle of schistosomiasis.  In addition, patients suffering from lymphedema, caused by lymphatic filariasis, are encouraged to wash their limbs regularly to prevent infections. Behaviors and actions such as these are needed to prevent infection and morbidity, but in communities where water is scarce and every drop is precious, none will be used for handwashing, bathing, or cleaning if it means going thirsty instead. In communities where water is contaminated and no other sources of water are available, people are left with little choice but to risk infection in order to carry out their daily tasks. Continue reading

Global NGO Deworming Inventory: Call for Participation

The global deworming community is made up of numerous hard-working independent organizations such as yours. We invite you to participate in the 2010 Global NGO Deworming Inventory to help ensure the deworming work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) and other independent organizations is recognized and counted.

What is the Global NGO Deworming Inventory?
The Global NGO Deworming Inventory (www.deworminginventory.org) was launched in June of 2010 with the explicit purpose of assessing the breadth and scope of NGO deworming activities and their treatment achievements worldwide.  The Inventory collates data on NGO deworming activities and presents an overview of who is deworming where, and how many children are being treated. Data from the Inventory are then shared with the WHO Preventive Chemotherapy (PCT) Databank to compile NGO deworming data with data from Ministries of Health and measure collective progress towards the World Health Assembly (WHA) target of treating 75% of school age children at risk of infection with intestinal worms.

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CWW’s Stamp of Approval on Reinventing the Toilet

Below is Children Without Worms’ reaction to Gates’ Foundation announcement of new sanitation technology funding to reinvent the toilet.

By: Kerry Gallo, Senior Program Associate of Children Without Worms

Anyone who has visited a school in sub-Saharan Africa is familiar with the sight of a dilapidated latrine. The door is hanging off the hinges (if it’s still around), the smell inside is unbearable, and flies buzz everywhere. With the organization that built the latrines long-gone and the upkeep abandoned, it’s not uncommon for latrines to fall into disrepair and neglect. It is little wonder that children faced with the option of a filthy, unsafe latrine may choose to relieve themselves in the open. Intestinal worms (or soil-transmitted helminths) spread in these conditions, leading to the deplorable figure of 800 million children worldwide at risk of infection.

So what’s the solution to sustainable school sanitation programs? According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it is improved toilet technology: toilets built with a country’s environmental, ecologic, financial, and cultural characteristics in mind. New models that enable schools and communities to implement sanitation systems that are both sustainable and effective; toilets that meet the needs of girls, the disabled, and young children.The Gates Foundation calls it Reinventing The Toilet Challenge—but you might call it the search for “Toilet 2.0.”

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