The Neglected Tropical Diseases under the Public Health Division of the Ghana Health Service in collaboration with the School Health Education Programme (SHEP) of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and USAID Act to End NTD West Programme have started the annual School-Age Deworming Exercise for children aged 5-14 years in 15 Regions across the country.
A media briefing on was held on the exercise under the theme “Achieving Health Equity to End Schistosomiasis” in Accra. The briefing sought to create awareness on the exercise which started on 21st November and will end on 9th December 2022.
Dr. Anthony Adofo Ofosu, the Deputy Director-General of the Service addressing the media, pointed out that the ultimate goal of deworming school-age children was to reduce absenteeism and improve academic performance as well as the quality of basic education in Ghana. He said the most cost-effective way of delivering regular deworming medicines to children on a large scale was through the school system where there exists a high concentration of school school-aged children who are in close contact with the community.
Dr. Ofosu mentioned that Praziquantel (600mg) and Albenadazole (400mg), were the medicine of choice and would be administered to each child, noting that dosage was by height using a measuring strip and medicine administered under strict supervision of a teacher and a health worker. He stressed that children must eat before taking the medicine.
The Deputy Director-General noted that Teachers would be responsible for delivering the deworming medicines to the school-aged children at their respective schools with assistance from local health workers. Out-of-school children are expected to be mobilized and directed to nearby schools for treatment. Dr. Anthony Ofosu called out to the media to play its role effectively by disseminating relevant information about the benefits of deworming to the general public.
The Director of SHEP-GES, Ms. Theresa Oppong-Mensah in her speech said that the School Health Education Programme (SHEP) has been identified as a key agency to collaborate with Ghana Health Service’s (GHS) Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme (NTDP). Ms. Oppong-Mensah stated that Cross Sectoral collaboration has been identified to play a vital role in the achievement of a number of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in Goals 3 and 4. She said the main focus of the collaboration was to provide advisory support for the coordination of Programme activities, advocacy, communication, and resource mobilization for the elimination and control of NTDs in Ghana.
This year’s deworming exercise is aimed at treating 11,322 schools in 89 districts spread over 15 regions. In all, a total of 1,943,023 school-aged children are targeted for treatment.
SOURCE: PR UNIT