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Operation De-worming launched for school children

Special Correspondent
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Schools of Delhi Govt., MCD, NDMC, Delhi Cantonment and anganwadis to be administered tablets today

For a healthy tomorrow:Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit administering tablets to a school girl while launching the de-worming programme at her residence in New Delhi on Monday. Behind her is Health Minister A. K. Walia.Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
For a healthy tomorrow:Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit administering tablets to a school girl while launching the de-worming programme at her residence in New Delhi on Monday. Behind her is Health Minister A. K. Walia.Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Two months into the Chacha Nehru Sehat Yojna (CNSY) that seeks to provide free and comprehensive health services to all school-going children in Delhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday launched a major State-wide de-worming campaign by administering chewable tablets to 50 school-going children at her residence.

Since soil-transmitted worms are the commonest infestations in pre-school and school-age children from poor communities, the campaign aims to de-worm the children and save them from worm-infested diseases such as anaemia, malnutrition, and physical and mental retardation.

Giving details of the campaign, Ms. Dikshit said the tablets would now be administered twice a year. She said the dates and months would be institutionalised to create awareness about the programme and make it more effective.

“Regular de-worming is the most effective way of immediately reducing worm burden and relieving children of the disease. Our long-term approach will continue investing in health education and sanitation. Worms damage the health of children, limit their access to education and thwart their overall development. De-worming is by far the best way to immediately improve the quality of life for our children,” she said.

To assess the situation in Delhi and understand the disease burden among children, the Delhi Government had earlier conducted a study and found that the average prevalence of soil-transmitted worms was around 16 per cent.  To overcome this, all school-age children of Delhi Government schools, Municipal Corporation Delhi schools, New Delhi Municipal Council schools, Delhi Cantonment Board schools, pre-school children in Anganwadi centres, and the adolescent girls of SABLA programme will be given one dose of the de-worming medication on Tuesday, the de-worming day. A mop-up will be conducted on February 27 for children who miss the de-worming tablet on Tuesday.

The exercise would be conducted in schools and Anganwadi centres, where the teachers and Anganwadi workers would administer mebendazole de-worming tablets to every child.

To support the campaign and ensure that it reaches children in adequate measure, a mechanism has also been devised to monitor the entire exercise. For this, external and independent monitors have been deputed to ensure quality and complete coverage.

Health Minister A. K. Walia said the CNSY under the Directorate of Health Services and State departments like Health and Family Welfare, Education, Social Welfare (Integrated Child Development Scheme) as well as the Education and Health departments of the MCD and the NDMC would be collaborating in the exercise.

Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia said the programme would also greatly benefit the children coming to the Anganwadis and adolescent girls under SABLA programme.

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