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The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol is set to conduct free deworming services in all public schools in Albay.

Francia Gerogña, one of the speakers in the briefing, said “we are not only promoting health but we are also improving the education of our children and economic development.”

Deworming will cover some 2, 839, 996 children and teenagers, aged from 1-18 years old in both private and public schools, including the out-of-school youths.

The school nurse or classroom teacher will give students one tablet of 60 mg. elemental iron with 400 mg. Folic Acid once a week. “It will be every Monday for a total of 24 weeks in a given school year,” Gerogña explained.

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She said the National Deworming Month is a strategy endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to lessen the burden of “Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH)”, a helminth infection caused by different species of roundworms transmitted through soil contaminated with focal matter.

Every school year, the first round target of the deworming program will be from July to September and the second round target will be held from January to March.

In the 2015 survey, DOH reveals that Bicol region has the highest STH cases in the country– 6 out of 10 children while 9 out of 10 cases in 2003.

Dr. Napoleon L. Arevalo, regional director of DOH-Bicol, said, “to mitigate the impact of STH, we are also planning to conduct an “Oplan Tsek-up” or free check-up and deworming to the Indigenous People (IP) communities including those that are living in the mountain areas, through Rural Health Unit’s (RHU’s) participation and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP).

In fact, this is the first time that DOH and NCIP worked closely not only in terms of strategies that provide funds and logistics to the IP communities. The NCIP provided PHP1million worth of medicines for the use of this IPs.” Arevalo added.

“It’s a challenge for everyone not only for the DOH but for all individuals to go to remote areas. Even the hygiene and environmental sanitation is a challenge for us because changing the behavior of people like these IPs will take you a lifetime”, the director said.

This year’s deworming celebration has for its theme: “Anemia ay Iwasan, May Libreng WIFA sa Paaralan (Weekly Iron Folic Acid)”. (JB/PNA)

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