IOM inaugurates de-worming campaign in Mannar district

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 September 2005, 05:08 GMT]
About 30000 children in government and LTTE controlled areas in Mannar district Wednesday received a single dose of medication, which will protect them from worms for up to a year. The inaugural event of the campaign launched by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in this regard was held Wednesday at Mannar Al-Askar Maha Vidiyalayam with Mr.V.Visvalingam, Mannar Government Agent in the chair.

“These children will no longer face the risk of serious health and developmental problems caused by worms with a single dose of medication which just at a cost about 14 rupees per child,” IOM said in a press release.

Dr.(Ms).S.R.Jude, Deputy Provincial Director of Health Services and Zonal Directors of Education and IOM officials participated in the event.

The district-wide de-worming campaign is being conducted in cooperation with the Deputy Provincial Director for Health Services, along with the Zonal Director of Education, according to IOM.

"The risks of worms should not be underestimated, with as many as 150,000 children dying worldwide each year from intestinal obstruction and other abdominal complications caused by large adult worms," warned IOM's Dr.Qasim Sufi.

The parasites can cause anemia and dysentery, while serious cases can result in malnutrition, stunting and delayed puberty.

"Worms not only cause health problems, but they can also impact on a child's education and development by affecting the child's ability to concentrate on his or her studies," said R. M. Ranasinghe, head of IOM's project to support refugees returning from India, many of whom live in Mannar, according to IOM press release.

Transmission of the parasites is easy, and it's not uncommon for a child to carry up to 1,000 hookworms, roundworms and whipworms, the press release added.

Children walking barefoot can pick up hookworms, or they may ingest roundworm eggs simply by putting dirty fingers in their mouths. The de-worming campaign is supported by Australian AUSAID, and will be complemented with projects to promote better heath and hygiene, the press release said.

 

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