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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-28

Implementation of periodic and large-scale deworming activities for the prevention and control of soil-transmitted helminths on a global scale


1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit & Medical Research Unit, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication11-Apr-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai, Thiruporur - Guduvanchery Main Road, Sembakkam, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ed.ed_17_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Implementation of periodic and large-scale deworming activities for the prevention and control of soil-transmitted helminths on a global scale. Environ Dis 2018;3:27-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Implementation of periodic and large-scale deworming activities for the prevention and control of soil-transmitted helminths on a global scale. Environ Dis [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 19];3:27-8. Available from: http://www.environmentmed.org/text.asp?2018/3/1/27/229880



Dear Editor,

Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections result due to various parasitic worms, and it predominantly affects populations with poor sanitation and socioeconomic status across the world.[1],[2] The global estimates suggest that in excess of 1.5 billion people are suffering from these infections.[1] Further, it is quite alarming that more than 260 million and 560 million children in the 0–5 years of age group and school age group (5–15 years), respectively, are living in regions with the intensive transmission of the worms, and thus, they are in immense need for prevention- and control-related services.[1] Further, it has been estimated that more than 870 million children are at suffering from the disease worldwide.[3]

Considering the global magnitude of the disease, preponderance to infect children (restricting the growth and physical development of millions of children due to poor absorption of nutrients), and the preventable nature of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) in the year 2015 has set the target to eliminate morbidity due to STH among children by 2020 worldwide.[1],[2] However, to accomplish this target, a minimum of 75% of the children residing in endemic regions should be appropriately and adequately treated.[1],[3]

The WHO has released guidelines supporting periodic and large-scale deworming with a single tablet as the ideal approach to minimize suffering attributed to STH.[3] Albendazole (400 mg) and mebendazole (500 mg) have been recommended for treatment as they are safe, effective, inexpensive and do not require trained persons for administration.[1],[4] Pharmaceutical companies and WHO have come ahead to support the endemic nations in their mission to conduct large-scale deworming by ensuring distribution of free medicines.[1],[3] To augment the reach of services, treatment can be done in schools during deworming days or can be combined with other health services (such as immunization days and hand washing day).[1],[3] Further, the treatment should be either annual (prevalence of STH more than 20%) or semiannual (prevalence of STH more than 50%). This treatment not only reduces the worm load but also reduces suffering.[3]

However, it is very important to note that the drug therapy alone cannot produce sustained results unless it is supplemented with health and hygiene education, which can minimize the chances of reinfection by motivating people to develop healthy habits.[1],[2] In addition, efforts should be taken to improve the sanitation standards of the marginalized population to minimize the contamination of soil with infective eggs and thus interrupt the chain of transmission.[1],[2],[3]

To conclude, STH remains a major global public health concern. It is the hour of need to invest in prevention- and control-related activities to ensure the global targets are accomplished by 2020.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections – Fact Sheet No. 366; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs366/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Oct 05].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Targeting global elimination of soil-transmitted helminth infections among children by 2020. J Earth Environ Health Sci 2016;2:83-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
3.
World Health Organization. WHO Recommends Large-Scale Deworming to Improve Children's Health and Nutrition; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/large-scale-deworming/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Oct 05].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. Preventive Chemotherapy to Control Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections in At-Risk Population Groups – Guideline. Geneva: WHO Press; 2017. p. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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