National Deworming Day 2023 -10th Of February
Children Are The Nation's Future & Tomorrow's Citizens.
Every year, on February 10, India celebrates National Deworming Day. The day marks an important step towards improving children's health across the country and raising awareness about the importance of being dewormed. The government launched this mission to reduce worm infections among children on February 10. This blog will take a closer look at what National Deworming Day 2023 is all about, why it's so important for everyone to know about it, and how you can spread the word!
STH (Soil-Transmitted Helminths) is a major public health issue in India. Worm infections affect approximately 220 million Indian children aged one to fourteen. Worms in children can cause anemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development by interfering with food intake.
National Deworming Program Initiative
India accounts for 65% of parasitic worm cases in Southeast Asia and 27% of all parasitic worm cases worldwide. To address this issue, the Indian government established a fixed-day preschool (Anganwadi) and school-based National Deworming Day started in 2015 to deworm all children aged 1 to 19. Depending on the presence of worms in their state/UT, several states/UTs also conduct a bi-annual round on August 10 and some in October.
National deworming day 2023 will serve to raise awareness about the necessity of deworming and the ongoing need to reduce parasitic illnesses in children. It is implemented in an effort to protect children from worm illnesses through healthy behaviours and deworming drugs. In all Indian public schools and preschools (Anganwadis), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is implementing this campaign.
History Of National Deworming Day
National Deworming Day (NDD) was established by the Indian government's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in February 2015 to address the worm infection problem within the nation. The program aims to increase the well-being of all children aged 1 to 19 by deworming them. It has evolved to be the largest public initiative in the world to protect kids from parasitic intestinal worms in a shorter period.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Indian government, the benefits of this initiative must be made available to all States and UTs (union territories). The ministries of Panchayati Raj, Urban Development, Rural Development, Tribal Welfare, Women and Child Development, Departments of Health, Education, Social Welfare, and Social Education Drinking Water and Sanitation are additional stakeholders.
Significance Of National Deworming Day 2023
India has a significantly larger proportion of children who are more likely to contract helminths from the soil than any other country in the world. On February 10, deworming tablets will be distributed freely to all children aged 1 to 19 to ensure that every child is dewormed. As a "mop-up day," tablets will be given to those, who haven't taken the deworming tablets on February 15. The main objective of the deworming day is to deworm all school-age children. Additionally, it supports children's quality of life, nutritional status, access to education, and cognitive development.
The Causative Agent
Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are a subgroup of helminth infections. It is caused specifically by helminths transmitted through contaminated soil and so known as soil-transmitted helminths. Worms that infect humans include roundworms, whipworms, threadworms, tapeworms, Strongyloides, and hookworms.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), soil-transmitted helminths affect around 24% of the world's population. As a result, about 241 million children in India between the ages of one and fourteen are at high risk of parasitic intestinal worms, known as soil-transmitted helminths.
STH Prevalence In India
High prevalence states (>50%): Arunachal Pradesh, UP, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland, J&K, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Mizoram, Assam, Uttarakhand, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu
Moderate Prevalence States (20%-50%): Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar, Bihar, Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Gujarat, Meghalaya, West Bengal, and Tripura
Deworming should be done every two years in states where the prevalence of STH infection is greater than 20% and every one year in states where the prevalence is less than 20%. Only two states, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh found a prevalence of less than 20% and suggested an annual cycle. All remaining states and territories are adopting a bi-annual round of deworming.
How STH Infects Humans
- The STH enters and dwells in the human intestine and eats nutrition
- Adult worms feed and reproduce in human intestines, producing hundreds of eggs per day.
- Infected people pass eggs in their feces.
- Infected individuals who defecate outside transmit worm eggs into the soil.
- Eggs contaminate the soil and spread infection in numerous ways: swallowed through vegetables that have not been thoroughly cooked, washed, or peeled; ingested from contaminated drinking water sources; consumed by children who play in the dirt and then put their hands in their mouths without washing them.
Common symptoms after the infection are pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, gas/bloating, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and pain or tenderness in the abdomen.
Practices Promoted To Reduce The Risk
In order to lower the risk of worm infections in children, the government encourages the following behaviours among the general population in addition to giving out deworming tablets.
- Never defecate outside; instead, always use a toilet.
- Always cut your nails short and neatly.
- Always keep the neighbourhood tidy and clean.
- Always put on slippers or shoes, especially when using the restroom.
- Always consume safe food and drink clean water.
- Never leave food uncovered.
- Fruits and vegetables should always be washed in clean water before eating.
The Bottom Line
India is home to the world's largest population of children and adolescents, with over 444 million. Deworming is a simple and efficient way to protect children from parasite illnesses while enhancing their health and well-being. The national deworming program is brought on by an organized and collaborative effort of the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), schools, and healthcare practitioners to make the country worm free.