It is important to remember how vital child de-worming programs are in Haiti. Almost ever child in Haiti is suseptible to intestinal worms because of the unsanitary conditions that plague much of the country.
Once a child has been infected with worms they can suffer from stomach pain, coughing, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, swollen belly, blood in stools or urine, fatigue and listlessness. Chronic infections often times will stunt a child's physical development.
The potential harm to a child caused by worms goes beyond health. It has been proven that worms have an adverse effect on school attendance rates and on the amount of possible earnings that a child can make as an adult. In fact, regular treatment can reduce school absenteeism by 25% and increase adult earnings by over 20%.
Providing de-worming medication like albendazole to children with worms will improve their lives.
Below is information that details our albendazole distribution plan throughout the first quarter of 2013. We will also be administering vitamin A and multivitamins to thousands of children and pregnant/lactating women. You can find information about the importance of these supplements below as well.
Why Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is essential to immune function especially in children under five who are most vulnerable to common infections and diseases. Together with health advocates worldwide, distribution of vitamin A has helped reduce the estimated number of deaths in children under five from 16 million in 1970 to less than 8 million annually in 2010.
A proven solution to VAD is at our fingertips. Vitamin A supplementation is simple, cost-effective, and together with zinc supplementation was ranked by a group of world-renowned economists as the top international priority for addressing the world's greatest global development challenges. Unlike other treatments, one high-dose vitamin A capsule can provide one child with sufficient vitamin A for six months. This alone can reduce under-five child mortality by about 24% in populations at risk of vitamin A deficiency. It can also help prevent and reverse one of the most severe effects of VAD, xerophthalmia, a disorder of the eye that can lead to permanent blindness.
Essential nutrients are a critical part of health, including physical and cognitive development. Children who suffer from vitamin deficiencies are unable to reach their full potential. Health, education, productivity and human achievement are compromised.
Over two billion people worldwide are deficient in essential nutrients. New and expecting mothers and children under five are the groups most vulnerable to vitamin deficiencies. Because they have a relatively greater need for vitamins and minerals, they are more adversely affected by those deficiencies, particularly of vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc. Many lack more than one of these essential nutrients.
Multivitamins for children and pregnant and lactating women provide daily recommended amounts of key vitamins and minerals important for a range of functions essential to good health.
Example: Samaritan’s Purse requested multivitamins because they see many cases of anemia in children and pregnant and lactating women. This is caused by iron deficiency.
13 planned vitamin A. multivitamin, and albendazole distribution
In total we will be providing the following in the 2013:
We worked with partner non-governmental organizations in Haiti to disburse the vitamin A, multivitamins, and albendazole. Information regarding the number of children each group will provide for is below:
Center for Humanitarian Assistance and Guidance – Located in Degand Carrefour
Number of children to be provided vitamin A: 3,000 children 6 months – 11 months old and 3,000 children 1-5 years old
Number of children to be provided albendazole: 600 children 1-5 years old
HaitiHelper Clinic in Ranquitte
Number of children to be provided vitamin A: 400 children 6 months – 11 months old and 600 children 1-5 years old
Number of children to be provided albendazole: 3,000 children 1-5 years old
Samaritan’s Purse – Provided vitamin A to Samaritan’s Purse ran clinics located in Petit Goave, Grand Goave, Leogane, and Cite Soleil.
Number of children to be provided vitamin A: 3,000 children 6 months – 11 months old and 5,000 children 1-5 years old
Number of children to be provided albendazole: 5,000 children 1-5 years old
Number of children to be provided multivitmains: 780 children 1-5 years old
Number of pregnant and lactating women to be provided multivitamins: 373 women
3,500 children in the communities of Ranquitte, Kenscoff, Leogane, Cavillion, and Coix-des-Bouquet are now protected from intestinal worms. It only took one month for all of these children to be reached with albendazole, a de-worming medication.
Many of these children had been struggling to stay in school because of the intense stomach cramps and chronic diarrhea that intestinal worms cause. One of the main reasons children miss school in Haiti is diarrhea caused by waterborne disease and intestinal worms. When children have diarrhea, their parents keep them home from school.
Innovations for Poverty Action released a study showing that school-based de-worming programs can generate an extra year of education for only $3.50 per student.
Albendazole has enabled Abraham, the oldest child in the picture below, and his two siblings to fight off intestinal worms and return to school. They live in Ranquitte, a modest town in Northern Haiti. The people in this town have been dealing with water and sanitations issues for a long time.
Nearly half of the children in Ranquitte had intestinal worms. Abraham had to stay home to help his parents watch his younger siblings because they had severe diarrhea caused by the intestinal worms. All three children were missing a significant amount of school.
Some friends of International Action, a group of nurses from Michigan, informed of us of these conditions. Brenda and her team of nurses were planning to visit Ranquitte in late September to provide the community with free access to healthcare. But they did not have any albendazole. International Action quickly provided the nurses with 1,000 albendazole pills.
900 children received doses in 2 days.
The benefits were seen and felt immediately. Children stopped having diarrhea and stomach aches. After four days, Abraham and his brother and sister were able to return to school. They have not missed a day of school since they received albendazole.
Many of the 3,500 Haitian children have a story like Abraham’s. This has been made possible by the albendazole that we have been able to provide them with your help.
We continue to push towards a Haiti free of intestinal worms. In the upcoming weeks we will be donating albendazole pills to two international organizations and one local group. One dose of albendazole protects children and adults from intestinal worm infections for 6 months. Intestinal worms like Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura cause diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. In children, these symptoms are more than just a physical danger. Diarrhea is the main reason children miss school. If kids don't go to school they do not receive the necessary education to be successful later in life.
We are distributing albendazole tablets to a clinic in Ranquitte, Haiti. This clinic does all it can to not only treat, but prevent diseases, infections and parasites. They even work with the local schools to immunize students. We also will be donating 3,000 albendazole pills to Wings over Haiti, a group that focuses on providing children with language skills both in Kreyole and in French. The staff of Wings for Haiti realized how important it is for students to be rid of intestinal worms. Furthermore, we have received requests from the Haiti Health Initiative. They need albendazole pills to treat children in Tombe Gateau before they go back to school.
Health is such an essential aspect of life. With a healthy population, disasters such as the cholera epidemic are less likely to occur.
If you have any connections to a Haitian community that is struggling with intestinal worms or lacking clean water, please let us know.
Thank you very much for your support,
The International Action Team
It has been well documented by many public health experts, including Dr. Dean Karlan (faculty at Yale University and author of More than Good Intentions), that protecting children and families from intestinal worms is one of the most effective ways of reducing diarrhea and improving school attendance rates. All it takes is 2 doses of albendazole a year to protect children from intestinal worms, just two. As a result of the success of our de-worming campaign, we have decided to increase its reach.
In partnership with AmeriCares, we will help treat 140,000 children -- at thirteen different clinics and hospitals -- who are afflicted with intestinal worms. 140,000 children will be healthy enough to attend and thrive in school. Health, education, and jobs are three of the most important sectors in Haiti that need improvement. Our De-worming Campaign helps improve all three.
International Action, in collaboration with the Digicel Foundation, has launched a Haiti-wide school-based deworming program in 67 schools, all of which were built by Digicel. The project will improve the health of more than 30,000 Haitian students and their immediate families. The project entails hosting deworming education workshops with teachers and school directors and distributing more than 200,000 Albendzole deworming pills.
A simple Albendazole pill can rid a child or adult of intestinal worms. The World Bank recommends giving these intestinal worm treatment pills to all children attending schools in high-risk areas.
The first workshop and distribution, attended by 20 teachers and directors, was recently held with much success. The attendees received more than 30,000 pills to help combat intestinal worms in their students’ families.
International Action and the Digicel Foundation, both members of the Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network, are strongly committed to improving and empowering Haitians through different initiatives in the education sector.
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