February 10 and August 10 are observed as the National Deworming Days (NDD) in India every year since 2015. It was initiated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in order to work towards eradicating intestinal worms also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH), among children in the age group of 1-19 years.
NDD is the largest public health program implemented on a single day reaching crores of children and adolescents through two NDD rounds every year. It is a key intervention of Anemia Mukt Bharat. Under the program, children and adolescents are administered a single dose of a safe medicine Albendazole across government, government-aided schools, anganwadis, private schools and other educational institutions. Deworming through Albendazole is an evidence-based, globally-accepted, effective solution used to control worm infections in all children.
The program is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
What are Intestinal Worms?
Intestinal worms are parasites that live in the human intestines and consume nutrients and vitamins that a child consumes. These worms depend on the human body for their food and survival and while being there, they lay thousands of eggs each day.
Since the worms feed on host (human body) tissues, including blood, it leads to loss of iron, and protein, resulting in anaemia – reduced oxygen-carrying capacity due to less Haemoglobin (Hb) available in the body. Such worm infection can also lead to diarrhoea, dysentery, loss of appetite, reduced nutritional intake and physical fitness, and increased malabsorption – a condition that prevents absorption of nutrients through the small intestine.
In India, over 22 crore children under 14 years of age are at risk of STH infections. It is to address this, that the NDD program was launched.
The success and impact of National Deworming Day are in convergence with the Swachh Bharat Mission. NDD also presents opportunities to further policy dialogue on health and nutrition as a way of supplementing efforts under POSHAN Abhiyan.
CSR involvement in National Deworming Day
HCL Foundation in association with AROH Foundation today celebrated National Deworming Day through their CSR initiative ‘Harit’, which aims to combat climate change through ecosystem conservation and restoration under their flagship program, HCL Uday. The organizations came together in the primary school Thora – 1 of Thora village in the state of Uttar Pradesh and commenced the day by organizing awareness rallies, movies and oath-taking for school students, teachers, and localities.
A total of 150 children from government schools participated and were groomed to be water ambassadors in the villages for the conservation of ponds. The objective of the day was to sensitize, deworm and aware children about the coronavirus through the platform of schools and Anganwadi centres to improve their overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.