On observing "National Deworming Day" (Feb 10), the government of India has planned to expand its deworming mission to all states to achieve its target of covering 27 crore children aged 1-19 years by the end of this year.
India is set to launch the deworming drive in Hyderabad, Telangana. Children in all preschools (Anganwadi), primary and secondary schools will be administered with 400mg of albendazole tablets.
The deworming drive was launched in Rajasthan last year which covered around nine crore children in 2015. Owing to the enormous burden of worm infections in India, the government has planned to expand the drive to all states and union territories with the help of WHO.
As per WHO data, India has the highest burden of worm infections with 220 million children aged 1 to 14 at risk. Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are the most frequent worm infections that pose a risk of iron deficiency leading to anemia and malnutrition. Globally, more than 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world's population, suffer from worm infections.
Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said, "If we are able to hit the target of 27 crore, India will be healthier and we will have a healthy young India. It's an ambitious program and world's largest public health program which we have undertaken. I am confident we will be successful in achieving the target with the co-operation of stakeholders."