Abia Undertakes In-school Deworming Programme, Targets 60,000 Basic Education Pupils in 6 LGs

Abia Undertakes In-school Deworming Programme, Targets 60,000 Basic Education Pupils in 6 LGs

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia 

Abia State has embarked on a preventive health initiative aimed at protecting pupils at the Basic level of education from the infestations of worms.

Wife of the state governor, Mrs. Priscilla Otti flagged off the In-School Deworming Programme at Umuahia, describing it as “a proactive approach to safeguard the health and future of Abia children”. 

The programme targets deworming about 60,000 pupils in public and private schools located in six Local Governments – Ohafia, Bende, Ikwuano, Isialangwa South, Obingwa and Osisioma, selected for the pilot phase.

Mrs. Otti, who was represented by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adaeze Emetu, noted that regular deworming treatments in Abia schools represents “a significant step (in) protecting our children from the harmful effects of these parasites”.

“The In-School Deworming Programme in the State signifies our unwavering commitment to ensuring the welfare of every child who enters our school gates,” she said.

The wife of the governor explained that the decision to focus on children between six and 14 years was informed by research indicating that most intervention agencies typically pay more attention to children of 0 to 5 years. 

She stated that the age gap of children not covered posed health “implications for our growing generation” hence the state government decided to bridge the gap through the In-School Deworming Program.

Mrs. Otti said that government was committed to ensuring that “every child in Abia is dewormed ” and enjoined all stakeholders to make the programme a success.

In her remarks, the Commissioner for Health,  Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Princess Agomuo, described the programme as a life saving initiative.

She called on mothers and care givers to embrace the programme and ensure that children internalised hand washing to enhance hygiene among the young ones.

The commissioner commended the governor’s wife for the laudable project and assured that her ministry would give maximum support for the programme.

The Special Assistant to the Governor on Vulnerable Groups and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Ifeoma Thomas had earlier in her address, said that the essence of the In-School Deworming Programme was to eradicate worm infestation among school age children.

Citing health statistics, the SA said that an estimated 35 million children from six to 14 years are estimated to be infected with worm.

According to her, Mrs. Otti came up with the programme in realisation of the vulnerability the basic school age sub set of the population that “are majorly exposed to soil transmission infection”

Mrs. Thomas explained that the deworming exercise is a pilot programme for children in primary one to junior secondary schools in the six selected LGs, lauded the wife of the governor for her concern for the vulnerable people.

She also expressed her appreciation to the  collaborating partners, including civil society organizations, donor agencies, SMOH, CARITAS, ANRIN, SOLINA, HSCL and HOPE SPRING for their support. 

Mrs. Caroline Charles, who spoke on behalf of the partners, said deworming could reduce the effects of the parasite on the health of children and assured Abia government of sustainable collaboration.

Highlights of the event was the demonstrative deworming of school children by the representative of the governor’s wife. 

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