Cotabato City (May 04, 2016) – The Department of Health’s (DOH) central office awarded the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as the most improved region in terms of coverage of the national de-worming campaign’s second round held in January this year.
The ARMM de-wormed 98% of its target, or over one million school and community-based children, elevating the region on top of the government’s drive that focuses on children’s health. De-worming is done twice a year, the first round in July of every year.
Soraida Amilil, regional program coordinator and deputy infectious disease cluster head, said “this is the first time that the DOH central office recognized the region in a de-worming period, and it is because of the continuous effort of the DOH-ARMM.”
Amilil underscored the importance of the drive, which is aimed at combating the nutritional impact of soil-transmitted helminthiasis, a type of helminth infection caused by roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms.
During the de-worming drive, children aged one to four and five to 12 are given a single dose of chewable 400-milligram albendazole anti-worm tablets by school nurses and community health workers.
DOH-ARMM’s report showed a total of 343,885 children aged one to four and 135,716 aged five to 12 in communities received de-worming tablets. It further noted 568,076 children enrolled in public elementary schools were also served during the campaign period.
The DOH assured that, just like other medication, de-worming drugs may lead to nominal side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headache and vomiting. These effects are transient, minor, self-limiting and would disappear after some time and can easily be managed with remedies like resting for a few hours and drinking water mixed with sugar.
Seeking to bring down the prevalence rate of worm infestation among children to less than 20% in 2014, the region’s Health department conducted parasite prevalence survey in the provinces of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Lanao del Sur.
The result of the survey showed 36.7% of school children aged six to12 in the region are suffering from this problem. “Hopefully, with the efforts of our department (DOH-ARMM), we can lower the number of children suffering from worm infestation,” she added.
She further explained that de-worming can substantially improve the health and school participation of children and can reduce absenteeism. The campaign will also help address other health problems among children such as anaemia, malnutrition and impaired mental and physical development.
Prior to giving the prescribed dosage, school nurses and health workers informed the parents on the importance of the campaign specifically in improving the general health of the children. (Bureau of Public Information)