The problem of worm infestations has been attributed to many reasons including bad hygiene, open-air defecation, and lack of footwear.

Watch Heres how parasitic infestations are being combated using preventive measures
Delve Malnutrition Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 17:30

Malnutrition remains an issue that India continues to struggle to combat. As of 2015, roughly 20 million children below the age of 6 in the country are reportedly malnourished. Anaemia caused by parasitic infestations was reported to be among the leading causes of malnourishment in these children.

Tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms are some of the most prevalent worms seen in these parasitic infestations. When the worms enter the human body, they find their way to the intestines and attach themselves. Nutrients which would normally be absorbed by the body in the intestines are instead absorbed by the worms, which leads to the onset of anaemia.

"Once there is some infestation, children may present with nausea, vomiting, loose stools. They may also be excessively tired and lethargic, their appetite may also come down. If they aren't treated for the infestation, they will present with anaemia also," says Dr Senthilkumar, the Deputy Director of Health Services for Tamil Nadu's Kanchipuram district.

In 2015, the union government introduced National Deworming Day — which falls on August 10 —  to combat this issue. Experts have stated that ever since this scheme was introduced, the number of children affected by worm infestations has reduced.

"As far as prevalence today is concerned, there is a drastic decrease in the number of cases we see on a weekly or even monthly basis of worm infestations," says Dr Udayakumar, a senior consultant paediatrician from Chennai.

"What we see more now is children presenting with recurrent infestations," he adds.

The problem of worm infestations has been attributed to many reasons including bad hygiene, open-air defecation, and lack of footwear. On National Deworming Day, children at several government health care centres, schools and anganwadis are not only administered albendazole tablets to rid of any active parasite infestation but are also taught about good hygiene measures and hand-washing techniques to prevent the issue.

"Open air defecation is still prevalent in India. This leads to feco-oral contamination and transmission of the worms. To cut this cycle short, we must teach proper hand washing and hygiene techniques. After that and giving albendazole, we administer iron and folic acid tablets to supplement and reduce anaemia," Dr Senthilkumar adds.  

Watch:

 
Malnutrition, Anemia, Lack of Footwear: How the problem of parasite infestations is being handled

Malnutrition, Anaemia, Lack of Footwear: How the problem of parasite infestations is being handled

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Thursday, August 30, 2018

 

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