Feb 23, 2016
By: Elisa Baring, Director, Special Projects
I remember being in awe in 2005 of the accomplishments of Niger’s NTD mass treatment campaign when over two million people were treated for schistosomiasis and intestinal worms. Now, I am in awe every time an NTD campaign is launched – with growing momentum and support, there are just as many campaigns that reach multiple millions of people as ones that reach just a few million. The numbers continue to rise and it’s exciting!
On February 10, India launched their second national deworming campaign that targeted 270 million children across the country. Yep, you read that correctly – 270 million! And, here is another big number – 900,000 – the campaign mobilized nearly 900,000 teachers, principals and health workers in schools and government-sponsored child and mother care centers to distribute the deworming tablets. Astonishing numbers, right?
These are not insignificant numbers and we have to celebrate India’s success. The country has made great strides in its efforts to control NTDs and with strong government ownership and leadership, and the necessary local buy-in, the country has been able to strengthen and expand its deworming campaigns over the years. With the technical support of Evidence Action and partners such as the END Fund, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), USAID, Dubai Cares, and others, India’s deworming efforts have expanded from being statewide treatment campaigns to an annual national deworming day. The event was launched by senior central and state government officials and targeted children between the ages of one and 19 throughout the country.
The logistics behind the national deworming day are also impressive and are important to applaud. The national, state, and district coordination needed to get the deworming tablets to the 270 million children throughout the country took many, many months of tireless effort. Not only were treatment registers and training workbooks revised, but educational information was updated to ensure everything was current and relevant, and a multi-tiered training cascade was planned and implemented to ensure all distributors understood how to treat and what actions to take if there were adverse events. These logistical activities, and many more, were all part of ensuring the national deworming day would be a success.
The END Fund is proud to have supported the State Government of Rajasthan in this year’s deworming efforts and we applaud the efforts of all those involved in coordinating the campaign.