ISLAMABAD - The government on Wednesday launched the first ever “Islamabad Deworming Initiative” which will deworm 250,000 children in first phase at all govt schools in the Federal capital out of the 570,000 children aged between 5-15 who are at risk of infection with intestinal worms.

While inaugurating the initiative here, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Planning Development and Reform Kanwal Shauzab said that Prime Minister in his first speech to the nation expressed serious concerns on high prevalence of stunting among children and intestinal worm infestation is one of the major reasons.

She said that to cater this urgent need Ministry of Planning has initiated school based deworming programme for children between 5-15 years with the collaboration of Ministry of Federal Education and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination. 

Kanwal Shauzab said that trained school teachers will administer free of cost deworming medicine, which is universally recognised as a safe and cost effective treatment.

She highlighted that the worm infections interfere with nutrient uptake, can lead to anemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development, and pose a serious threat to children’s health, education and productivity.

A survey found that approximately 17 million children across Pakistan are in need of regular deworming.

Parliamentary Secretary said that a training cascade structure has been implemented to train teachers from selected schools given deworming tablets, necessary information and advocacy material.  She further stated that the community mobilisation campaigns have been launched to encourage participation of both enrolled and non-enrolled children.

To facilitate programmatic improvements, a strong monitoring and evaluation system is being adopted, she said. The Parliamentary Secretary administered the deworming tablets to school going children to mark the initiation of mass school based deworming.

Deworming day is set to be conducted on Jan 31, 2019 in Islamabad for all children aged between 5 to 15.