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HomeNewsGovt set to deworm 6 million learners

Govt set to deworm 6 million learners

The Ministry of Health will roll out a national school-based deworming exercise which will target at least six million learners in the country.

In a statement, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards Mary Muthoni said the nationwide exercise will improve children’s health and enhance their learning abilities.

“The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Evidence Action, will launch the 12th round of the National School-Based Deworming Campaign on July 4, 2024,” a statement from the Ministry read.

The deworming exercise is poised to reach learners in 16 counties that have been marked as high-risk zones.

Deworming counties

The counties set to benefit from the deworming program include Kirinyaga, Homa Bay, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Bomet and Kericho.

The other counties targeted by the exercise are Nandi, Narok, Trans-Nzoia, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, and Vihiga.

“The campaign is designed to improve children’s health and enhance their learning abilities by effectively addressing parasitic worm infections,” the Ministry noted.

Effects of worms

Intestinal worms like hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and schistosomiasis are reported to affect at least one in four people worldwide and are prevalent among school-age children in less privileged countries around the world according to Jpal- research centre focused on poverty reduction.

Intestinal worms are believed to have a negative impact on education, hindering child development as well as school attendance and reducing income later in life.

These effects are especially pronounced in Africa, where nearly half of the total disease burden is due to infectious and parasitic diseases, including helminth infections.

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A man holds a lump of soil with worms in it. Image used for representation purposes only. PHOTO/Pexels

According to the research centre, Budalangi and Funyula have some of the highest helminth worm infection rates in Kenya due to their proximity to Lake Victoria.

Soil-transmitted helminths (STH), on the other hand, are transmitted through contact with or ingestion of faecal matter.

This is often witnessed when school children do not have access to a latrine and instead defecate in the fields near their home or school, where they also play.

The research centre also estimates that a quarter of school absenteeism is caused by abdominal pains which could be attributed to worm infections.

Equally, it also suggests that older learners are more likely to stay at home attending to their younger siblings infected by the worms.

The deworming exercise by the Ministry of Health is expected to boost school attendance and also enhance the learners’ learning ability at the end of the exercise.

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