Kerala

Rescheduling may hit deworming drive

Tablet distribution postponed in Malappuram district

Repeated rescheduling of deworming tablet distribution for schoolchildren in successive years is likely to affect the efficacy of the drive, feels a section of the Health Department staff.

This year’s drive scheduled on Tuesday had to be postponed in Malappuram district following reports that substandard tablets were sent for distribution at some places.

Though there were similar reports from Kozhikode district too, the event was not deferred here. Around 3.5 lakh albendazole tablets manufactured by the Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. had to be taken back.

Objective

According to the Union government, the objective of National Deworming Day is to deworm preschool and school-age children (enrolled and non-enrolled) in the 1-19 age group through schools and anganwadi centres to “improve their overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.”

The first round of distribution of albendazole anti-worm tablets is supposed to be held on February 10 each year, followed by a ‘mop-up’ exercise a week later to cover those left out. The second round is held in August similarly. However, Health Department sources point out that the drive is not being regularly held in Kerala since August 2018.

The campaign planned that month had to be postponed due to ‘technical reasons’ as the State was hit by the worst-ever floods during then. It was later held in December that year. Sources say that the de-worming exercise was not held in February 2019. The event could not be held on time in August 2019 too.

Drive postponed

The drive scheduled for February 10 this year had to be postponed to February 25 this time, again due to ‘technical reasons’.

In Malappuram district, it is postponed again after medical officers in one of the community health centres there noticed the substandard quality of the tablets.

Albendazole tablets in 400 mg belonging to batch number DK 0062 procured by the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. were asked to be withdrawn.

The Malappuram District Medical Officer reportedly issued a direction to take them back soon after. It has been reported that the same tablets in batches from DK 0058 to 0063 too had been distributed among educational institutions in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

The rescheduled date for tablet distribution in Malappuram district is expected to be announced later.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:00:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rescheduling-may-hit-efficacy-of-tablet-distribution/article30914275.ece

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