The National School-Based Deworming Program (NSBD) in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, has initiated a program to deworm four million children across 14 counties.
The program, which runs from September 13th to 16th this year will target Narok, Nyamira, Kisii, Migori, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, and Taita Taveta Counties.
This intervention provides deworming treatment in schools to children who are at risk of contracting intestinal worms, a condition that affects their health, nutrition, and overall well-being.
In a press release sent to newsrooms by the Ministry of Education, the event has become a globally recognized, high-impact model for successful inter-ministerial partnership.
The deworming exercise was observed and flagged off by Dr. Julius Jwan, Principal Secretary Ministry of Education and Dr. Patrick Amoth Director General Ministry of Health.
“From its conception in the year 2009, results have shown that millions of Kenyan children have grown up without having experienced worm infection,” the statements read.
Children aged between 2 to 14 years will be targeted as the NSBD aims to treat six million children annually.
Trained teachers will administer the deworming treatment to both enrolled and unenrolled children in over 19,000 primary schools and Early Childhood Development centers.
“This year, the NSBD dewormed 2.6 million children in March 2021 across seven counties in Western Kenya,” the statement said.
The joint implementation of this program will be executed at the county level trickling down to each school where both the County Directors of Education and Health will spearhead the provision of treatment.
Technical assistance to this program will be provided by an international NGO called Evidence Action based in seven counties to ensure high-quality delivery of the program.
“According to statistics, at least six million children are at risk nationally from intestinal worms which constitutes a major public health problem in Kenya,” read the statement.
Worm infections, if left untreated, interfere with nutrient intake and can lead to anemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development.
Receiving deworming treatment, based on a rigorous research conducted mainly in Kenya, can improve children’s cognition, physical development, and school attendance. These results produce long-term benefits to the children’s well-being.
A recent study conducted in Kenya by a team led by Edward Miguel and Nobel Laureate Michael Kremer found that children who received two to three years of deworming treatment increased their income by 13 per cent and household consumption by 14 per cent as adults 20 years after the fact, when compared to children who were not dewormed.
The treatment is free, safe, effective, and highly recommended by the World Health Organization.
By Michael Omondi