REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Mass deworming of school-age children kicks off in 19 Counties

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – The Government has commenced the first phase of a mass deworming exercise targeting six million school-age children in 19 Counties.

Drugs worthy KSh1 billion will be distributed in the first and second phase of the exercise, that seeks to treat children aged between six and 14 years against intestinal worms and bilharzia.

More than eight million tablets for  intestinal worms and three million for bilharzias, will distributed in the exercise sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and the Merck Group (Merck KGaA).

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the END Fund and Evidence Action are supporting the drug distribution exercise which is being implemented by the Ministries of Health and Education.

The first phase of the campaign commenced last week in Kisii and Nandi Counties and currently in Bomet, Bungoma, Garissa, Homabay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kirinyaga, Kisumu, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Migori, Narok, Nyamira, Transnzoia, Vihiga, and Wajir Counties.

The second phase of the exercise will be conducted in May, targeting children in Busia, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa, Siaya, TaitaTaveta and Tana River Counties.

The Head of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Unit, Dr. Sultani Matendechero is urging parents to bring out their children and ensure that they were dewormed. He said the campaign will help Kenya the meet the global targets for the elimination of worms as well as reduce the general worm load in the community since school-age children form approximately 25 percent of the population.

“Pre-school children who are able to come for the drugs will not be sent back. There will be provision for them but their guardians should bring them over to the schools where we will be conducting the exercise,” he said.

He observed that the campaign will improve the performance of school going children in addition to improving school attendance.Various teams have been conducting advocacy and sensitization campaigns on the ground.