The government on Wednesday kicked off a deworming exercise targeting over six million school going children in the country.
Launching the exercise at Dibuoro Primary School in Siaya, the Director of Primary Education in the Ministry of Education, Nereah Olik said the exercise, to be carried out in two phases, would see the children dewormed against intestinal worms and bilharzia.
In phase one, said Olik, 3.2 million children would be targeted while the secondary phase would have 3.4 million benefit.
The director said that the exercise would target children aged between two and 14 years and was part of the government’s efforts to ensure that children were retained in school.
Olik called for close cooperation between parents and all stakeholders to make the national deworming exercise a success.
“This is an annual exercise aimed at having a productive future” she said.
The Siaya County Director of Health, Dr. Ken Orwenjo said that they were targeting to deworm 380,000 children during the exercise.
Dr. Orwenjo said that the annual deworming exercises have seen the county reduce worm prevalence amongst children from 33 per cent in 2012 to the current three percent.
He however, said that only children in Alego/Usonga would benefit from anti bilharzia tablets as the rest of the sub counties in the area were under a research study on the same.
Addressing the occasion, the Head of Adolescence and School Health Division in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Anne Mwangi called on Kenyans to observe hygiene so as to win the war against worms.
“Worm infestation affects a child’s growth, development and performance hence the need for all to join hands in eradicating this,” she said.
Dr. Mwangi also called for a stop to open defecation which she said promotes the cycle of worms hence making it difficult to eradicate.
By Philip Onyango