Ogun State government, yesterday, flagged -off its school de-worming programme with a plan to de-worm one million school children in public and private schools in the state, under its Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs, programme.
It added that it had trained no fewer than 2,500 teachers, 1,067 community distributors and 400 health workers to ensure it meets the one million target.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, who disclosed this at the flag – off ceremony of the exercise at Owu Baptist Primary School, Ita Iyalode, Abeokuta, said that no fewer than 400,000 adults in the state’s endemic communities would also be de-wormed.
She revealed that the biennial exercise would be carried out in 4,223 public and private schools spread across 13 local government areas of Abeokuta North, Ewekoro, Ijebu East, Ijebu North, Ijebu North East, Ikenne, Imeko-Afon, Odeda, Ogun Waterside, Remo North, Yewa North, Ipokia and Ijebu Ode.
She urged residents of the affected areas, parents and caregivers to ensure their wards were de-wormed on any of the de-worming days this November.
She commended the Federal Ministry of Health, Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), our ever-supportive Partner- Evidence Action and WHO for their commitment in the fight against NTDs.
Coker identified these soil transmitted helminthes and schistosomiasis as two common worms prevalent in 14 and 18 local government areas respectively in the state.
According to her, the diseases occur in areas with poor hygiene, poor environmental sanitation, inadequate or lack of portable water and poor housing conditions.
She said children living under such conditions come across these worms through their every day interaction with soil (Soil Transmitted Helminthes) and one of the worms acquired by wading through water bodies (Schistosomiasis).
The consequences of these worms, she said, include abdominal pain, enlarged liver, shortage of blood, liver fibrosis or bladder cancer, malnutrition, poor mental and cognitive capability among school age children.
She also warned that untreated infection with Schistosomahaematobium acquired through contact with contaminated fresh water bodies used by rural communities, particularly women and girls could lead to a gynecological condition known as Female Genital Schistosomiasis, FGS, with risk of untimely death over time.