World’s biggest drive against intestinal worms

For a cost of less than half a million dollars, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has completed its largest-ever campaign to fight intestinal worms, treating more than 4.5 million children in Afghanistan against the biggest cause of disease in young children in the developing world. The de-worming campaign is estimated to have reached more than 90 per cent of the targeted children – between the ages of six and 12 – and cost $476,000, or just over 10 cents per child.

From United Nations:
World’s biggest drive against intestinal worms reaches 4.5 million Afghan kids

For a cost of less than half a million dollars, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has completed its largest-ever campaign to fight intestinal worms, treating more than 4.5 million children in Afghanistan against the biggest cause of disease in young children in the developing world.

WFP Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan Michael Jones described the programme – which was conducted with the help of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Afghan government ministries – as an ”incredible achievement.”

”Not only because it has been organized for the first time, but also because it has been done in Afghanistan, a country whose needs are as huge as its challenges,” Mr. Jones said in a statement last week.

The de-worming campaign is estimated to have reached more than 90 per cent of the targeted children – between the ages of six and 12 – and cost $476,000, or just over 10 cents per child.

More than 400 million children around the world are known to be affected by worms, which ranks as the greatest cause of disease in both infants and school-age children. A study last year showed that nearly 50 per cent of Afghan schoolchildren were infected by one or more types of intestinal worms.

The sometimes fatal disease can cause stunting, weight loss, anaemia and learning difficulties, as well as reduce physical fitness and increase susceptibility to other infections.

Using about 7,000 schools around the country, officials treated children with de-worming drugs and gave advice about hygiene and health awareness. A follow-up campaign focusing on Afghanistan’s cities is scheduled for November.


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