By Christine Muchira
The Government, through the Ministry of Health and Education dewormed 6.7million children for soil-transmitted parasitic worms in 15,000 Primary schools in the 2014/15 financial year the head of the Department of Preventive and Promotive in the Ministry of Health Dr Jackson Kioko has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by Head of the Child Health Unit at the Ministry, Dr Rachel Nyamai during the launch of 2016 National school- based deworming programme in Mutithi Primary school Mwea Sub-County in Kirinyaga County early in the week.
The worms in question are transmitted by eggs present in human feaces which in turn contaminate soil in areas where sanitation is poor.
When mature the worms can generally be seen with the naked eye.
They are often referred to as intestinal worms even though they don’t reside in the intestines.
Dr Kioko affirmed the importance of deworming, saying the programme has successfully reduced the prevalence of soil transmitted helminthes in Kenya from 35% in 2012 to 17% in 2015.
The programme is supported by the World Health Organisation, Childrens’ Investment Fund Foundation, Evidence Action and other partners.
The Director General in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Leah Rotich said the programme had 83% achievement rate.
She said the programme will ensure that all children are dewormed for better health and free access to education, saying the infections was responsible for frequent learner absenteeism in school, and lack of concentration during teaching and learning in schools.
Mrs. Rotich noted that out of the 6.1million children dewormed, 91% are enrolled in school and 9% are not.
”Of the enrolled children 1.33million were from ECD centres,” Mrs. Rotich added.
The target areas for the programme included parts of Nyanza, such as Ahero, Kisii and Mwea in Mount Kenya region.
She said the government was working on modalities to increase sustainability by the year 2022.