COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: The Department of Health in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOH-ARMM) is deworming thousands of children across the region to counter the adverse effects of worm infection on children’s health and nutrition.
Soraida Amilil, regional coordinator of the Integrated Hel-minth Control Program, said on Tuesday that as of January 28, the DOH-ARMM has already administered deworming medicines to a total of 303,523 children aged 5 to 12 years, which make up 52.64 percent of the total number of children enrolled in public elementary schools in the region.
Amilil said infection from intestinal worms or soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) has adverse effects on the development of the brain and on children’s school attendance. It is also related to nutritional deficiencies, specifically to the lack of iron and vitamin A.
The deworming program is part of the National School-based De-worming Day (NSDD), an activity simultaneously held nationwide and jointly conducted in partnership with the region’s Department of Education (DepEd-ARMM).
This year’s NSDD started in January 27 and will end today (Wednesday). The DOH-ARMM will release a final and complete report of the activity on February 9.
Amilil said they administer 400mg of Albendazole to children for the mass treatment of intestinal infections. Albendazole is candy-flavored chewable drug which is included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of essential medicines for the treatment of intestinal helminthiasis.
Possible side effects of the drug include allergy, abdominal pain and diarrhea, but Amilil said that “as of today, no adverse effects or reactions of the given medicine were reported.”
Medicines such as antihistamines, antispasmodics, and oral rehydration solution plus zinc were provided to local health centers in case there are adverse events following the deworming.
If erratic worm migration is observed, she advised parents to pull out the worms and dispose of them properly by flushing and incineration.