October 20: National Deworming Day
Every year, National Deworming Day is celebrated on February 10 and October 20 in India.
Why National Deworming Day?
India accounts to 28% of total number of global children between the age of 1 and 14 years of age at risk of Soil Transmitted Helminths. This is about 68% of children in India. These infections have direct impact on nutritional status of children. Thus, National Deworming Day is celebrated to create awareness about the Soil Transmitted Helminths and its ill effects.
At least 14 states have reported reduction in the prevalence of parasitic intestinal worm infection. The last round of deworming in India reported that around 11-crore of adolescent and children were administered with Albendazole tablet in 25 states and Union Territories. However, it was halted due to COVID-19.
The Albendazole tablet has been approved by the World Health Organization under its Mass Drug Administration Programme globally.
How is the day marked this year?
The schools and Anganwadis are closed due to COVID-19. The GoI has thus directed the trained front line workers to administer the Albendazole tablet to the children in their homes. This is being done through Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Day model.
The National Deworming Day was launched in 2015. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 14 states of India have shown substantial decline in worm infections since its launch. These 14 states are Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Telangana, Sikkim, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar. So far 10 rounds of National Deworming Day has been conducted in India. With this, the prevalence of STH has reduced from 74.6% in 2016 to 13.9% in 2018.
According to WHO, in 2012, there were 64% of children at the risk of STH in India.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has appointed National Centre for Disease Control as the nodal agency to coordinate and conduct STH mapping in India.
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