Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
Abia state has made good its resolve to protect all pupils in public schools from illnesses caused by worms as it has covered most of the schools in its deworming exercise across the state.
The deworming programme, which is a component of the Homegrown School Feeding Programme funded by the federal government under its social investment programme, targets over 200,000 pupils ranging from five to 14 years.
Wife of Abia governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu while flagging off the programme at Abayi Umuocham Primary School in Osisioma local government, said the deworming programme was a welcome development in the efforts to make children healthier.
â€œThis deworming programme will go round to all the schools where our free school meals are being served,â€ she said, adding that it would â€œcomplement our efforts to make our children healthier and more capable of pursuing their educational careerâ€.
Mrs. Ikpeazu noted that her Vicar hope Foundation was already carrying out deworming of children as part of its health programmes, adding that with the addition of deworming as part of free school meal programme â€œour state has become better with the two projectsâ€.
Chairman of Osisioma local government, Hon Iheyinna Mgbahuru described deworming as â€œa very importantâ€ health programme and commended the wife of the governor for her love for women and children.
He recalled that in the past children were dying of worm-related illnesses because of ignorance as parents were patronizing herbalists who lacked the skills for proper diagnosis and treatment.
The LG boss said that the council has already trained health care givers for the deworming exercise, adding, â€œweâ€™re ready for the programmeâ€.
Programme manager of the free school meal, Emeka Ahuruonye said that the deworming exercise has recorded over 90 percent coverage as 860 out of the 869 public primary schools in Abia have been covered.
He said that 1,600 women were engaged in cooking for the pupils, adding that the free meal programme was the first of its kind in Abiaâ€™s school system.