Earlier this Spring, Bihar implemented its first-ever state-wide school-based deworming program under the direction of the Bihar Education Project Council and State Health Society Bihar, and in coordination with Deworm the World, an initiative that works to expand school-based deworming throughout the world. The program, implemented from February through April 2011, provided 17 million children with deworming treatment. This endeavor is one of the largest school-based deworming efforts ever conducted.
Bihar has a very high rate of parasitic worm infection; in fact, 1 in 2 school-age children within many of Bihar’s districts are infected with parasitic worms. Infections can result in missed school days, malnutrition, and sickness, all perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Thus, deworming programs are vital in the fight against NTDs and parasitic diseases, alike. Read the excerpt below for more information, or click here to read the full press release from Deworm the World:
“Over 17 million children in the Indian state of Bihar were provided with deworming treatment as part of one of the largest school-based deworming efforts ever conducted in the world. The announcement was made by Mr. Rajesh Bhushan, the State Project Director of the Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) and Secretary of Public Relations Department, Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Secretary of Department of Health & Family Welfare and Executive Director of the State Health Society Bihar (SHSB), and Ms. Prerna Makkar, Regional Director – South Asia, Deworm the World (DtW) as they reported the results of Bihar’s first-ever statewide school-based deworming program implemented from February through April 2011. Mr. Kumar said “it is remarkable that such a technically simple intervention, as regular and systematic deworming, can have such a profound effect on the nutritional, health and education status of millions of children.”
Bihar has a very high rate of parasitic worm infection, with all school-age children at risk and more than 50% infected in most districts, according to prevalence surveys conducted by DtW. As worm infections damage children’s health, education and development, all school-age children in Bihar – nearly 21 million – were targeted for deworming by this program. Infected children are more likely to suffer from malnutrition and anemia, resulting in children who are either too sick or too tired to concentrate in class or to attend school. This can cause lifelong harm to a child with research showing that children who remain infected earn 43% less as adults, and are 13% less likely to be literate.”