May 21, 2024

Lagos state, partners target 1.4m school children for deworming

Lagos state, partners target 1.4m school children for deworming

By Providence Ayanfeoluwa, edited by Chioma Obinna

Over 1.4 million school-aged children enrolled in private and public schools, as well as those out of school in Lagos State would enjoy a mass school-based deworming campaign from May  20 to 24, 2024.

Also, over 3000 well-trained community health workers and teachers would administer and distribute Mebendazole tablets for preventative treatment of soil-transmitted helminthiasis, STH to school aged children in 10 high burden Local Government Areas such as: Ajerami/ifelodun, Amuwo Odofin, Apapa, Badagry, Epe, Ibeju Lekki Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Ojo snd Shomolu.

Speaking at the Interactive Stakeholders’ Meeting for the Lagos School Deworming Programme, Senior Program Manager, Evidence Action, Maryann Edeh, said Over 48 million school-age children in Nigeria require treatment for STH infection.

She said these infections result from poor sanitation and hygiene conditions with the highest prevalence in school-age children. Edeh said: “Left untreated, it can lead to anemia, malnourishment and physical impairment that would compromise a child’s educational outcomes and income as an adult.

“Worm infections disproportionately affect the poor, who are less able to afford the costs of diagnosis and treatment. This exacerbates the progress toward achieving equitable access to health and education”, she said.

Meanwhile, school-based deworming is implemented by the Neglected Tropical Disease program of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, in partnership with the State Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education and Federal Ministry of Health, whereas the exercise would be conducted by the NTD unit in partnership with Evidence Action, responsible for providing technical assistance to both federal and state government.

Earlier, Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, said that the deworming program was a significant public health initiative aimed at reducing the burden of parasitic worm infections among school-aged children.

Ogunbanwo said: “Sustainable health improvements require ongoing partnerships between development partners, the media, and the community.

“Your continuous support and engagement are crucial for the success of not just the deworming program but all health-related initiatives in Lagos State.”

In a paper presentation, NTD Coordinator, State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Roseline Dawodu, explained that NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacteria infection associated with poverty and prevalent in areas that have poor sanitation, inadequate or no safe water source and substandard housing condition.

According to her, 12 LGA are endemic for STH, three requires to be treated twice yearly.