Authorities in Ghana have kickstarted here the national school deworming exercise across the country to protect children against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

The five-day program, from Oct. 2 to 6, is part of the efforts aimed at reducing the prevalence of NTDs, a group of infectious and parasitic diseases, in Ghana by 2020.

This year’s edition is expected to benefit some 1.3 million children in 8,200 public and private basic schools (from kindergarten to junior high school) in 47 districts across the West African country, according to the officials.

Children will be dewormed by head teachers and school health teachers who have been trained to administer deworming medicines and to teach their students about the dangers of worms.

Health authorities have encouraged parents to participate in the exercise to help the country eliminate the NTDs which affect about seven million people yearly in Ghana, disrupting the academic schedules of affected children.

The annual deworming exercise has resulted in significant improvement in the health status of pupils. About 17 NTDs are found in the most im­poverished communities of the world.

In Ghana, there are 12 of such diseases, including, amongst others, soil transmitted worms and schistosomiasis diseases (bilharzias) which are most common in humans and the most vulnerable are school children aged from 5 to 14 years.

infection may lead to diarrhea, fatigue and loss of weight, which ultimately results in stunted growth, loss of cognitive function and school absen­teeism. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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