DOH hailed for deworming program for 16 M students

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - July 29, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday lauded the Department of Health (DOH) for its anti-intestinal worms program for some 16 million public elementary students nationwide, which may be the biggest such campaign in the world.

WHO country representative Julie Hall said getting 16 million children treated for intestinal worms or soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) is a “really significant achievement.”

“If it is able to achieve 16 million children, which is its target, it will be the biggest deworming campaign in the world,” Hall said in press conference held yesterday at the Mandaluyong Elementary School where DOH launched the “National School Deworming Day.”

“WHO is very delighted with this program and it is going ahead in congratulating everyone who is involved in it,” she added.

The DOH, in coordination with the Department of Education and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, yesterday launched its “Oplan Goodbye Bulate” nationwide campaign, which aims to administer chewable deworming tablets to some 16 million school-aged children from kindergarten to Grade 6, in 38,656 public elementary schools across the country.

Through the program, the candy-flavored tablets cost only P1 each. In private clinics, anti-worm medicines could cost from P5 to P25 each. Even adults could take deworming medicine, the DOH said.

Health Secretary Janette Garin said STH is endemic to the entire country, particularly hook worms, because children usually play on the ground and they do not wash their hands before eating and after using the lavatory.

Garin claimed that deworming has long been included in the department’s programs but this is the first time it is being implemented in a simultaneous one-day activity.

The DOH eyes to hold another round of deworming in January 2016 by giving a second dose to the 16 million students and by including pre-school pupils and high school students.

Hospitalized

The DOH said it is investigating reports that close to 400 students from public elementary schools in western and northern Mindanao were hospitalized after complaining of stomach ache, vomiting, dizziness and diarrhea following the deworming activity initiated by the agency yesterday. Initial reports reaching Camp Crame showed that 174 students in Northern Mindanao (Region 10), and over 100 in Zamboanga Sibugay, about 74 in Zamboanga del Norte and 33 from Zamboanga del Sur, all in Western Mindanao (Region 9), were admitted to hospital yesterday.

But DOH-9 assistant regional director Ruby Constantino said many of the students brought to hospitals for treatment were later allowed to go home in the absence of symptoms. – With Eva Visperas, Roel Pareño, Cecille Suerte Felipe

ACIRC CAMP CRAME CECILLE SUERTE FELIPE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DEWORMING DOH HEALTH SECRETARY JANETTE GARIN JULIE HALL MANDALUYONG ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NATIONAL SCHOOL DEWORMING DAY
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