Bungoma targets to deworm 688,000 children

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Rogansia Madeda Public Health Officer Bungoma And Rev Elizabeth Jemima Maina in studio
Rogansia Madeda Public Health Officer Bungoma And Rev Elizabeth Jemima Maina in studio

Bungoma County will this Wednesday 15th June 2022 deworm all children aged 2-14 years.  This exercise that brings together both the Ministry of Education and Health is to be carried out in all primary schools in the County.

All parents and care givers are urged to take children whether enrolled in school or not to the nearest primary school for treatment that can improve their health and education.

In an exclusive interview, the Assistant Director Quality Assurance and Standards, Ministry of Education, Rev. Elizabeth Jemima Maina revealed that the National School Based Deworming Program (NSBDP) has been ongoing for the last ten years with technical support from Deworm the World Initiative and Evidence Action.  Rev. Jemima says all primary school teachers have been trained to administer free deworming tablets.

Meanwhile Rogansia Madeda, a Public Health Officer says the program aims at eradicating two types of worms; soil transmitted helminthes or common worms and Schistosomes that cause Bilharzia. She says they are administering Albendazole which she adds that they are safe, effective, free and provided by the government of Kenya.

Asked about the side effects, Madeda says they are rare and mild. It may include stomach pain, vomiting and feeling tired, which will go away after sometime.

Rigorous and long-term studies conducted in Kenya reveal that deworming children reduces school absenteeism by as much as 25% and increases literacy and future earnings. It further states that children persistently infested with worms were 13% less likely to be literate and earned 43% less as adults compared to those who were dewormed while still in primary school.

Children can get worms through eating unwashed food or food that is not properly cooked, drinking contaminated water or by playing or walking in contaminated soil or water.

If not treated, worms can cause anaemia and malnutrition and there by impair a child’s mental and physical development. Most of the infected ones often fall sick and become too tired to concentrate in class or even attend school at all.

The National School Based Deworming Program will be implemented in 27 Counties and in 172 Sub Counties. In Western it will be carried in Bungoma, Kakamega and Busia Counties.

Last year 637,620 children in Bungoma County received Albendazole tablets representing 97%, 297,536 in Busia 84% while Kakamega County saw 728,662 children being dewormed representing 84%.

The deworming exercise is being conducted under the theme ‘Kwa Afya na Elimu Bora, Tuangamize Minyoo!!’