February 10: National Deworming Day
Every year on 10 February is observed as National Deworming Day to combat parasitic worm infections among preschool and school-age children across India.
This year it is second edition of the observance of this day after it was launched in 2015 by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
- Goal of National Deworming Day: Deworm all preschool and school-age children between the ages of 1-19 years in order to improve their overall health, cognitive development, nutritional status and quality of life.
- On this day, Albendazole tablets are given to all targeted children. Dosage of half tablet to 1-2 years children and one full tablet for 2-19 years is given.
- Organisers: Implementation of deworming programmes is led by the Union MoHFW.
- The Department of School Education and Literacy under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) also collaborate to implement the day.
- Union Ministries of Panchayati Raj, Tribal Affairs, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Rural Development and Urban Development are also other key stakeholders.
Parasitic worms infestation
- Parasitic worms or Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) are among the most common infections worldwide that causing parasitic infestation with nutrient uptake in small children.
- STHs live in human intestines and consume essential nutrients meant for the human body. It causes complications among the children resulting in anaemia, malnutrition and improper mental and physical development.
- Each day, parasitic worms produce thousands of eggs which are passed in human faeces and spread to others by contaminating soil in areas where open defecation predominant and sanitation is poor.