The Department of Education (DepEd) continues its drive to eliminate intestinal parasitism among the public elementary school learners nationwide through its mass deworming program or the Integrated Helminth Control Program, in cooperation with the Department of Health (DOH).
This mass deworming program aims to reduce the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) among school-aged children. If not treated, STH may lead to malnutrition, anemia, growth retardation, impaired cognitive functions and other health problems.
For the School Year 2015-2016, DepEd had given deworming medicines to 11.8 million school-aged children on the first round of the deworming activity, representing 80.56% of the target number of learners to be given with deworming medicines.
In the second round, the program served 10.6 million school-aged children, or 73.3% of the total number of target learners.
Under this effort, the DOH provides the medicines to be administered as a single dose once every six months to ensure the elimination of all types of worms. The medicine is given to school-aged children by DepEd health personnel, with help from other health personnel from the Local Government Units (LGUs).
For each school year, the first round of the deworming program is conducted in the whole month of July, while the second round is in January.
Medicines to be given are Albendazole 400mg or Mebendazole 500mg, both of which are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and DOH.
Since the program launch in 2006, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and WHO have reported that learners who had undergone the deworming treatment demonstrated significant improvements in language and memory development, and had better iron and vitamin A absorption.
School-aged children who are not enrolled and those who are enrolled in private schools are also encouraged to participate in this activity.
Private schools may coordinate with their DepEd Regional Office for the allotment of deworming medicines.
The Guidelines on the Implementation of the National School Deworming Day is enclosed in the DepEd Memorandum No. 80, s. 2015 which is available online at https://www.deped.gov.ph/memos/dm-80-s-2015.