DOH eyes deworming for pregnant women
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - September 25, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health (DOH) is studying the possibility of implementing a deworming program for pregnant women, saying some 1.3 million of them are suffering from soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) or intestinal worms.

“Many people think that deworming is only for children…The prevalence rate of STH is not that high among the general public…but the data for pregnant women is 65 percent in 2014,” DOH Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said yesterday.

STH among children can cause poor physical growth and intellectual development and impaired cognitive functions. It can lead to anemia and malnutrition both in children and women of childbearing age.

Ubial said the baby of a pregnant woman with intestinal worms would likely suffer from low birth weight.

“Babies born from mothers who have worms could be sickly because of low birth weight. Many of them actually die before they reach their first birthday,” she said.

The DOH had initiated a study on the inclusion of deworming drugs in its pre-pregnancy package in Davao, but there were concerns over its effects on the would-be mothers.

“It’s actually safe for pregnant women at the first trimester of pregnancy,” Ubial said.

She advised women who plan to have a baby to undergo deworming.

ACIRC ASSISTANT SECRETARY PAULYN JEAN UBIAL CHILDREN DAVAO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DEWORMING DOH PREGNANT STH UBIAL WOMEN
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