A senior health ministry official asked the state governments to focus on reaching out to children, who are not part of deworming programmes of schools and anganwadis, for the upcoming National Deworming Day.
Speaking at a programme planning and review meeting for the upcoming National Deworming Day's eighth round to be held in February, Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Child Health and Adolescent Health in the Ministry of Health Ajay Khera Tuesday congratulated participating states for successfully reaching approximately 280 million to 300 million children and adolescents in almost every round and making National Deworming Day the largest fixed day Anganwadi and school-based deworming programme in the world.
Khera highlighted the relevance of training and capacity building, media sensitisation, collaboration and convergence as key components for a successful National Deworming Day (NDD).
In attendance were state nodal officers for the National Deworming Day, as well as representatives from WHO India, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, a statement issued by Evidence Action said.
"NDD has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 2015. It is crucial that we now pay focused attention to children who are not a part of our school and Anganwadi systems and publishing our learning that assess impact. It is time to work together to see what has been the impact of the programme overall on child health.
She also reiterated the importance of the convergence of NDD with other government programmes and ministries.
The group had focused discussions on key programme components including procurement of drugs and supply chain issues, training, community mobilisation and the inclusion of private schools and out-of-school children to achieve the programme around which for this round is set at around 29 crore.
The National Deworming Day is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to combat the public health risk of intestinal worms in children aged 1 to 19 years.
The programme is conducted on a fixed day in all schools and Anganwadis across the country, the official date being February 10 with a biannual round on August 10 in select states based on worm prevalence data.
This year the NDD is being conducted on February 8 and mop up day on the February 14. Preschool and school-based deworming programmes are globally recognised as a "development best buy".
Deworming with the safe and beneficial albendazole tablet is an effective solution to controlling worm infections.
India has the highest burden of worm infections in the world, with the WHO estimating in 2014 that over 22 crore Indian children aged 1 to 14 years were at risk.
Intestinal worm infections can act as a deterrent to children's growth and development, and can adversely impact performance in school, and livelihood later in life.
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