34 cr children to be administered de-worming tablets today
In one of the country's largest single-day public health initiatives, an estimated 34 crore children will be administered de-worming tablets on Friday to reduce worm infestation that can stifle physical and intellectual growth.
On National Deworming Day on Friday, the Health Ministry for the first time will also cover private schools and has asked state governments to rope them in, while it has set up 210 monitoring centres across the country to tackle adverse reactions of the tablet like stomach ache and vomiting.
India has the highest burden of worm infections in the world, with the World Health Organization estimating in 2014 that over 22 crore Indian children aged between 1 and 14 years are at risk.
"Last year, an issue had been raised that the government has been deworming children only in government schools and left out the private schools. This year, we are trying to cover private schools also which means close to additional eight crore children. Since this is the first year, we may not have 100 per cent coverage in private schools.
"This is also going to be a single-day strategy. Across the country, albendazole tablet is in place for use. It is a safe drug and we have been using it year after year and all technical experts including WHO have certified the safety and efficacy of the drug," Union Health Secretary C K Mishra said.
The Health Ministry this year is working with the Department of School Education and Literacy and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.