BENGALURU: A total of 1.24 crore children were given Albendazole 400 mg tablets under the Union Health Ministry’s National Deworming Programme in the state on Friday.
The Measles-Rubella campaign, which is under way, was put on hold on Friday for the deworming initiative. According to a survey by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in 2015, prevalence of soil transmitted helminth (STH) infections is 48.5 per cent among those aged between 0 and 19 in Karnataka.
Dr Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner, child health, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, “Prevalence of more than 20 per cent means a significant portion of the population is infected. Only two states in the country have less than 20 per cent prevalence.” Children enrolled in anganwadis, government schools, government aided schools, government residential schools and a few private schools who have volunteered to participate were given the tablets.
A mop-up round has also been planned on February 16. The NCDC, the nodal agency for conducting nationwide worm load mapping, says Karnataka is among 18 states that have moderate prevalence (20 per cent to 50 per cent). “According to the 2015 survey, it was found that Mandya is a high endemic zone for STH,” said Prabhu Gowda, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram state nodal officer.
The state has spent `3.5 crore to procure 2.7 crore tablets for the biannual campaign. This is the third consecutive year in which biannual deworming is being done in Karnataka. Dr P Saroja, Reproductive and Child Health Project Director, Department of Health and Family Welfare said, “The tablet’s a little big for smaller children, so it was powdered for them. Children aged two to 19 were given one tablet and those aged below two were given half a tablet.”