National Deworming Day - [10th February]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 28, 2022, 5:07

National Deworming Day is conducted in all the states and union territories on February 10 every year to create awareness about children's immunity and health.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare initiated the movement in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Department of School Education and Literacy (under Ministry of Human Resource Development), Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in 2015.

National Deworming Day is one of the largest public health programs reaching many children in a short period.

National Deworming Day Objective

The objective of National Deworming Day is to deworm all children through the platform of schools and Anganwadi centres to improve their immunity, overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.

According to World Health Organization, over 240 million children between the ages of 1 and 14 years are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms in India, also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH).

Worms that typically infect people include roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworms (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale).

STH transmissions can occur through various sources, such as ingestion of vegetables that are not carefully cooked, washed or peeled. It can also occur from contaminated water sources.

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Ways to Prevent STH

STH infections can be prevented by:

  • Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming
  • Eating properly cooked food
  • Maintaining hygiene practices such as washing hands after using the toilet and before and after eating meals

Children are especially susceptible to STH infections as they eat with dirty hands. These infections can lead to anaemia, malnutrition, impaired mental and physical and cognitive development, and reduced school participation. Excess sweets and junk food consumption also cause it.

For these reasons, National Deworming Day is observed every year.

The Procedure for Effective Deworming

Schools and Anganwadi based deworming programs typically consist of the below-mentioned steps:

Step 1: Government of India guidelines for National Deworming Day

Step 2: Planning for implementation and program management

Step 3: Drug procurement and management

Step 4: Training and its logistic management

Step 5: Community awareness and mobilization

Step 6: Implementation of National Deworming Day

Step 7: Monitoring and Evaluation

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Implementation of National Deworming Day

On National Deworming Day, the entire procedure is generally executed in the following way:

  • Counters with tables and chairs are set up at school sites and Anganwadi centres
  • Clean drinking water with glasses is arranged in the school/Anganwadi kitchen
  • Formats are recorded and reported
  • Phone numbers are readily available of the nearest PHC, Medical Officer-Block PHC, ANM for seeking necessary support for managing any adverse events

Apart from these measures, ensuring sufficient availability of the required amount of drugs and supplies is critical to the success of the National Deworming Day. In this regard, the supplies required are sufficient stock of Albendazole tablets.

As per the National Health Portal, The first round of National Deworming Day was held in February 2015, wherein 8.9 crore children were administered the deworming tablet across 11 states, achieving 85% coverage.

Furthermore, 26.68 crore children were administered albendazole till February 2018. Also, more than 114 crore doses of albendazole have been administered to children 1-19 years since 2015.

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FAQs on National Deworming Day

Q.1. Why is National Deworming Day observed when there are other similar programs?

While deworming has been part of other programs, it has occurred inconsistently and has not been able to cover all children. Hence National Deworming Day happens all across India to maximize the number of children treated.

Q.2. What is the treatment given on National Deworming Day?

Albendazole is a deworming drug used by the Government of India on National Deworming Day. It is a safe treatment for intestinal worms used across the globe.

Q.3. How should the drug be consumed on National Deworming Day?

According to the instructions given on National Deworming Day, the children must chew the medicine properly before swallowing to avoid choking. The tablet should be broken and crushed for young children and administered with water.

Q.4. What should be done when mild adverse effects happen on National Deworming Day?

On National Deworming Day, teachers, Anganwadi workers and parents should be prepared. Children with any side effects should be taken to an open place and allowed to lie down and rest. They should be provided with clean drinking water. If the symptoms are very severe, it is probably best to take the child to the nearest health facility.

Q.5. Why is National Deworming Day significant?

Worm infections interfere with the health, nutrition and education of children. Worms can cause anaemia and malnourishment, which negatively affects mental and physical development. National Deworming Day is an initiative to treat children for worms to help them grow healthier and faster.