A nation-wide campaign will be launched on the eve of the National Deworming Day on February 10 to deworm children aged between 1-19 years through government schools and Anganwadi centres.
"The programme will cover 11 states including Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Tripura in the first phase.
"About 14 crore children will be targeted in this phase," said C K Mishra, additional secretary in the Union Health ministry.
Starting from the National Deworming Day on Feb 10, the activities will followed by a mop-up round to be carried out till Feb 14. As a part of the initiative, Albendazole tablets will be provided -- half tablet to 1-2 years children and one full tablet for 2-19 years.
In schools, teachers would provide one albendazole tablet to enrolled children recording the same in the register. Also, Anganwadi workers would provide albendazole dose to all children between 1-5 years and out-of-school children or adolescents and record it in the register.
ASHAs, accreditated social health activists who work for the ministry, will mobilize the under-five children and non-enrolled children and adolescents to go to nearby anganwadi centre and also motivate parents to get their children administered albendazole tablet at the nearest place.
Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are among the most common infections worldwide. There are three types of STH that infect people: round worm (AscarisLumbricoides), whip worm (Trichuristrichiuria) and hookworms (Necatoramericanus and Ancylostomaduodenale).
"Soil-transmitted helminths are transmitted by eggs that are passed in the faeces of infected people. Adult worms live in the intestine where they produce thousands of eggs each day. In areas that lack adequate sanitation, these eggs contaminate the soil," said Mishra.
As per WHO, India is endemic for soil transmitted Helminths infestation.
Apart from that 241 million children in the 1-14 years group are estimated to be at risk for soil-transmitted helminths or parasitic worms in India, as per WHO studies. They represent approximately 68 per cent of India's children in this age group.
Parasitic worms have debilitating consequences on the health and education of children, and on their long-term earning potential. Worms can cause anaemia, undernutrition thereby impairing mental and physical development.