By Brenda Y. Nchewnang-Ngassa
The operation which targets over 6 million children nationwide was launched in Yaounde Yesterday, March 9, 2016.
Pupils between the ages of 4 to 15 years, first cycle students in secondary school, children who are not going to school but are of school age between 5 to 14 years are currently being administered free drugs against intestinal worms and bilharzias (another type of worm). This is within the 2016 national de-worming campaign which was officially launched yesterday March 9, 2016 in Yaounde by the Ministers of Public Health, Basic Education and Secondary Education. The campaign ends on March 11.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda lauded the progress made since the campaign started in 1987. According to Mama Fouda, the prevalence rates of intestinal worms and bilharzias dropped throughout the national territory especially in endemic areas. In Yaounde, statistics indicate that bilharzia has dropped from 40 per cent to 0 per cent at the Nkolbission Primary School, 25 per cent to 2 per cent at the Obogogo primary school as well as the Mballa II primary school from 20 to 0 per cent. The situation of intestinal worms is not different. While lauding partners for their support, the Minister of Public Health called on parents to respect high hygienic conditions especially as both worms can be contacted wherever there is poor sanitation and a tropical environment. He urged parents and teachers to be vigilant as the mango season is around.
In the same line, the Minister of Basic Education, Youssouf Adidja Alim urged teachers and pupils to implement good sanitation measures within the school premises such as washing hands after using the toilet as well as before eating. According to the Basic Education Minister, a child suffering from intestinal and bilharzias worms will suffer from stunted growth, have learning difficulties, suffer from anaemia and be more exposed to other infections leading to poor academic results. As far as intestinal worms are concerned, the National Coordinator for the Control of Schistosomiasis and Intestinal Helminthiasis, Professor Louis-Abert Tchuem Tchuente said all children in Cameroon are involved because worms are everywhere and for this each child will be given a tablet of Mebendazole. In areas where bilharzias is endemic that is 85 health districts mostly in the three Northern Regions, Centre, South West and Littoral Regions, the drug Praziquantel will be given to the targeted group. Prof Louis-Abert Tchuem Tchuente also revealed that the campaign targets pre-age children between 1-5 years that are treated during the vaccination campaign against intestinal worms. Those who are of school age but are not in any school are advised to go to any school around their premises or health district.
Source All Africa