HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Child Health Division (CHD) under the Ministry of Health and Population has expanded a national deworming programme at government schools across the country this year.
Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, director of the division, said they have distributed the deworming tablets to nine million school children up to grade X, 3.7 million children between six months and five years and one million pregnant women.
The government is spending Rs 1.25 for each tablet, which will be distributed twice a year.
The government has been operating the programme at 45 districts since last fiscal and has distributed tablets to seven million school children.
The deworming programme, which began in 1999 with the focus on children aged between two and five years, is implemented along with the biannual vitamin A supplement programme as a joint approach against anaemia.
The government has also been distributing deworming tablets to pregnant women during the first four months of pregnancy since 2001.
“We are working to expand the deworming programme nationwide at private schools from the next fiscal,” said the director adding that there is high prevalence of disease among children and pregnant women.
The division estimates the prevalence rate of disease between 25 and 67 per cent varying from private school to government schools.
He said the success rate of the programme is above 90 per cent in the country.
After the reduction in morbidity and the effective result of the programme in these districts, the government plans to scale up the programme nationwide this year, Upreti said.
According to CDH, the integrated approach has helped reduce occurrence of anaemia in pre-school children from 78 per cent to 48 per cent between 2001 and 2006.
However, the Nepal Demographic Health Survey-2011 reported no significant changes in the prevalence of anemia from 48 per cent.
The survey said almost half (46 per cent) of Nepali children age six to 59 months are anemic where 18 per cent of children have moderate anemia and one per cent are severely anemic.