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Health News of Wednesday, 15 November 2023


Abia begins deworming 60,000 schoolchildren

Schoolchildren used to illustrate the story Schoolchildren used to illustrate the story

On Tuesday, the wife of the Abia State governor, Priscilla Otti, launched an in-school deworming programme targeted at 60,000 schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 14.

In a speech at the event held at the Government House, Umuahia, Mrs Otti described the programme as a testament to the government’s unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of Abia children.

”It is alarming to note that approximately 35 million children aged 5 to 14 are affected by various soil-transmitted helminths, with an estimated 2.9 million of them suffering from moderate-to-high-intensity infections, primarily in southern Nigeria.

“Sadly, worm and parasitic infections can severely impact a child’s health, growth, and cognitive development.

“It is our responsibility to eliminate this silent threat and ensure our children are free from these preventable diseases,” she said.

Mrs Otti said the programme had been designed to be a proactive approach towards safeguarding the health and future of every Abia child through regular deworming in schools.

She said that steps had been taken to ensure that the programme would succeed, adding that adequate plans had been put in place to train volunteers to carry out the deworming activities.

Mrs Otti said the pilot phase of the exercise would be carried out in Ohafia, Bende, Ikwuano, Isiala Ngwa South, Obingwa, and Osisioma local government areas.

Also, the Commissioner for Health, Ngozi Okoronkwo, said the Ministry of Health would deploy all the necessary resources to support the deworming campaign.

Ms Okoronkwo, represented by Ugonma Agomuo, said the benefits of deworming treatments for children were enormous and should not be taken lightly.

She further reaffirmed the government’s commitment to transforming the health sector and improving the welfare of the people of Abia.

The special assistant to the governor on vulnerable groups and poverty alleviation, Ifeoma Thomas, described the programme as a significant event and ”first of its kind”.

Ms Thomas said that the decision to embark on the programme was informed by the government’s desire to eradicate worm infestations among schoolchildren.