By John Ighodaro
CALABARâ€”Cross River State has declared war against worms as the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel-Imoke, has flagged off the de-worming of 90,000 children in the state.
Performing the de-worming exercise, in which children between the ages of 2-17 years benefitted at the three designated centres of Yakurr, Akpabuyo, and Ogoja local government headquarters, Mrs. Imoke explained that 5,000 de-worming tablets had been given to each local government chairperson and their primary healthcare coordinators and charged them to make sure every child in their community was de-wormed.
She, however, disclosed that the de-worming exercise was made possible through the collaborative effort of one of her initiatives, A State Fit For a Child, (asFac),Â UNICEF, State MinistriesÂ of Health and Women Affairs.
She explained that the state has declared an aggressive war on parasitic worm infestation in children by carrying out a campaign against worms through a six month periodic de-worming exercise, stating that this was part of the effort by asFac to make sure Cross River was fit for a child.
Mrs. Liyel-Imoke said one of the cardinal objectives of asFac was to look after the children in the state as well as make sure they grew well, eat well, even while in the womb, stay alive andÂ stay healthy enough to enroll in school.
She notedÂ that worms were detrimental to childrenâ€™s health, their cognitive development, education as well as a brighter future for them.
She explained that worms deprive children of essential nutrients leaving them malnourished, tired and unable to concentrate or attend to school activities.
â€œIt also makes them physically stunted and retarded mentally but however expressed optimism about the gains of de-worming exercise and promised to carry the war against worms to every nook and cranny of the state,â€ she said.
Expressing their views on the exercise, the chairmen of Yakurr, Akpabuyo and Ogoja Local Government Areas, in separate interviews pledged their readiness to assist in carrying out the campaign to every door-step in their communities to enable parents bring out their children for de-worming.
They also used the occasion to thank the governorâ€™s wife for the HIV test kits distributed to each local government area to enable everyone know his/her HIV status.
Commissioner for Health Dr. Edet Ikpi, who was represented by the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr. Phillip Obaji, said according to World Health Organization (WHO), the high rate of death is more among children between the ages of 5 years and below and also pregnant women.
He attributed the high infant and maternal rate to lack of blood caused by worms.
The commissioner enumerated the kinds of worms to include tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm among others and noted that children with worms usually have protruded stomach, were hungry andÂ forgetful.