ELIMINATE WORM INFESTATION

1.8 million pupils in Western dewormed as programme marks 10 years

The second phase started in 2017 and will end this year

In Summary
  • At county level, Kakamega, the data shows, has the highest number of pupils who have received the drugs administered at school.
  • The government targets to deworm 7,509,210 pupils in the 21 counties by end of 2022.

More than 1.8 million pupils in Western region have received deworming drugs since 2017, data from the Health ministry indicates.

The data shows in the four counties constituting Western – Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga – 1,881,566 pupils have so far been treated against worms. 

There are, however, 254,334 learners yet to be given deworming medication. The Health ministry targets to administer the drugs to 2,135,900 pupils in the region.

The Health ministry is marking 10 years since the programme was launched.

The current treatment is the programme’s second phase which started in 2017 and is expected to run until the end of this year. Each phase runs for five years.

At county level, Kakamega, the data shows, has the highest number of pupils who have received the drugs administered at school.

The populous county headed by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, statistics indicate, is home to 728,662 pupils who have been treated against worms.

However, an additional 141,955 primary school pupils have yet to receive the treatment that targets to eliminate worm infestation among learners. Kakamega projects to treat 870,617 pupils by close of 2022.

The county is closely followed by Bungoma, which has 637,620 pupils who have been treated. The county targets to treat 660,399 pupils, meaning the devolved unit still has 22,779 untreated pupils.

Busia comes third on the list with 297,536 pupils who have been treated from the targeted 355,583. Some 58,047 pupils in the county are yet to receive the deworming medication.

Vihiga is last with 217,748 pupils who have been treated against worms out of the targeted 249,301. This implies that the Health ministry still has 31,553 pupils to attend to.

On Wednesday, when Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman led celebrations to mark 10 years since the programme was launched. The CAS said untreated worm infestation lead to malnutrition despite the affected children being fed the right diet.

“Worms in the digestive system compete for food. This can lead to anaemia as the worms suck the children's blood from the digestive system,” the CAS said.

Other counties benefiting from the programme include Bomet, Homa Bay, Kericho, Kilifi, Kisii, Kisumu and Kwale.

Others are Lamu, Migori, Mombasa, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Tana River and Trans Nzoia.

The programme is jointly run by the ministries of Health and Education, Kenya Medical Research Institute and Evidence Action with support from the World Bank.

Under phase two of the programme, 6,413,164 children have already been dewormed in the 21 counties where the initiative is being implemented.

The government targets to deworm 7,509,210 pupils in the 21 counties by the end of 2022.

The Health ministry is expected to sign a new agreement with the programme’s implementing partner, Evidence Action, before 2023.

The third phase will run until 2027.

“Increased government commitment will be the cornerstone for the programme’s sustainability,” Aman said.

“That means both the national and the county governments must step up to finance this programme.”

Evidence Action country director Chrispine Owaga said his organisation will continue to support the programme.

“As an organisation, we are committed to building a world where hundreds and millions of people in the poorest places have better opportunities and their lives are measurably improved,” he said.

Aman said the Health ministry is striving to scale-up deworming across counties identified as risk counties.

The CAS said the programme is also supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.

Local drug manufactures, he said, earn approximately Sh70 million every year through the supply of deworming medicine to schools.

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