By Sumiya Shah
SRINAGAR: As a nationwide campaign to eradicate soil transmitted helminth infections, under National Deworming Day (NDD, was carried out in India on Friday, Kashmir failed to join the bus because of winter vacations in schools.
Health officials here said that the campaign would be taken up on a different date after schools reopen and added that such medicines were routed regularly through Social Welfare department.
Under NDD the Government of India targeted school children across the country to tackle the menace of parasitic worms considered by WHO among the most common infections worldwide.
The helminthes or worms lives in human intestines consuming nutrients meant for the human body and producing thousands of eggs each day. The eggs are passed in faeces and spread to others, especially in areas of poor sanitation.
Experts in Kashmir said that such programs could benefit the children in Kashmir.
Dr Salim Khan, head of the Social Preventive Medicine (SPM) said, “These programs should be initiated in every school of the valley after three months under the supervision of health department as the worm infestations in the valley is high”.
Worm infestations by the intestinal nematode, Ascaris lumbricoides is endemic to Jammu and Kashmir, and is seen in all age groups, especially children. The manifestations of the infestation are varied, from mild gut symptoms to potentially life threatening consequences of pancreatic and Biliary Ascariasis.
Dr Altaf, Deputy Director SKIMS, told Kashmir Reader that because of closed schools the program could not be taken up in valley.
“As schools are closed these days, so we will change the date, and when schools reopen in valley we will distribute the deworming medicine in valley. As of now we have given the direction to our team cover anganwadi centers for de-worming program,” Dr Altaf said.
Mission Director, Integrated Chid Devlopment Service, Talat Parvaiz also informed that they were covering anganwadi centres.
“Our teams are going in anganwardi centers for deworming. There is a gap of six months in the dosage of deworming, only after 6 months deworming can be done and I hope our team will work according to the data.”
Dr Salim, however, said that aanganwadi centers have very few children who are in pre-schooling stage.
In many parts of Kashmir even the proposed anganwari centres could not be covered because of a general strike.
“Here in Sopore, there is very little movement of public so we couldn’t deworm the children today, so we will do this process on Sunday,” Tanveera, an Asha in Sopore, said.
Some field workers opine that a broad based deworming campaign could be very helpful.
“A deworming day could be observed wherein all the population, especially the children could be dewormed. This could be based in schools or even through health care institutions at the primary level,” Nasreena, an Aasha said.