NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – The first phase of a mass deworming exercise targeting six million school-age children between six and 14 years has kicked off.
The exercise, which is being implemented by the Ministries of Health and Education, will be carried out in 19 counties seeking to treat against intestinal worms and bilharzia.
The campaign is currently taking place in Bomet, Bungoma, Garissa, Homabay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kirinyaga, Kisumu, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Migori, Narok, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Vihiga, and Wajir Counties.
Last week, children in Kisii and Nandi Counties were covered as part of the first phase of the campaign.
Head of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Unit Dr Sultani Matendechero urged parents to bring out their children and ensure that they were dewormed. He pointed out that the campaign would go a long way in helping Kenya progress towards meeting the global targets for the elimination of worms.
Such campaigns are also expected to reduce the general worm load in a community as school-age children form approximately 25 per cent of the population.
“Pre-school children who are able to come for the drugs will not be sent back. There will be provision for them but their guardians should bring them over to the schools where we will be conducting the exercise,” he said.
He further observed that the campaign would improve the performance of school going children in addition to improving school attendance.
The second phase of the exercise will conducted in May targeting children in Busia, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa, Siaya, Taita Taveta and Tana River Counties.
More than eight million tablets with an estimated market value of more than Sh1 billion will be distributed in both phases of the campaign.