Deworm for health and education in Bihar, India

$1,248 $78,752
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Jyoti. (Photo by Esther Havens)
Jyoti. (Photo by Esther Havens)

17 million.  That’s the number of kids who were provided with de-worming treatment through schools last year in the state of Bihar, making this program the largest school-based de-worming program in the world!

This program impacts children’s lives on a massive scale - not only does Bihar have one of the largest populations in India, but it also has a lot of worms: all 21 million school-age children in the state are at risk of infection and more than half are infected.  The good news is that the fight against worms has already started in Bihar: in 2011 a powerful partnership between the state's departments of health and education, supported by the De-worm the World Initiative (DtW), treated those 17 million at-risk kids by training over 140,000 teachers and rolling out through a network of 67,000 schools.

The not-so-good news is that re-infection can occur in these same kids – de-worming is not a one-time solution.  That’s why DtW continues to support the government to conduct the program on an annual basis, ensuring that kids who have already been treated continue to benefit, and with the goal of reaching even more at-risk children in 2012.

Jyoti, pictured here, is a 12 year old girl who felt the impact of de-worming first hand in the initial round. Plans are underway to treat her again in September, but we need all the help we can get to guarantee a successful program round. After all, it takes a lot of planning and logistical coordination to reach 17 million kids, all on one De-worming Day.

There are few interventions that can compete with de-worming’s low cost and high benefit. For every dollar donated to the Bihar program, 4 children will receive the benefits of de-worming – and each treated child is anticipated to gain 15 more days in school. 

Help us reach our goal!  Multiplied by several dollars and many people equals a lot of healthy kids who can be ready to learn, grow, and achieve.

In Bihar, a wall painting to promote awareness
In Bihar, a wall painting to promote awareness

We did it! This year on September 10th, Deworm the World Initiative (DtW) helped to continue the largest ever school-based deworming program targeting over 20 million at-risk children in the state of Bihar, India. As a result of this program millions of students will now have healthier years and achieve greater benefit from their education. Remarkably, even children who did not receive deworming medication will benefit due to the overall decrease in worm prevalence in the state as a result of this exercise.

What did it take to conduct a successful program of this massive size?

  1. Lots of training to ensure safe distribution of deworming tablets. To teach teachers in nearly 70,000 schools to properly administer tablets, a “train the trainer” cascade was employed. A group of master trainers (including teachers and doctors) at the state level taught district trainers, who in turn imparted training at the block-level and on down to headmasters and teachers in each school.
  2. Widespread information campaigns to notify non-enrolled students of their eligibility and ensure parental support. Hundreds of wall paintings (like the one below), radio and TV announcements and even stage shows performed by children all served to spread information about the safety and efficacy of the tablets and to encourage community support.
  3. Vigilant monitoring to ensure quality and track progress. Monitoring was conducted at all stages of the exercise to ensure tablets were received and training was conducted as intended. Data is now being collected from schools, and a future report will include information on the exact number and type of students who were dewormed in the area.

We are proud to report that each of these crucial elements were a success. But given the widespread severity of worm infections in the area, a sustained campaign is required to make a long-term impact in the lives of these children. Simply put, without continued deworming, worm prevalence in the area will rebound.

We appreciate your help to ensure the success of this program is expanded and not diminished. Few other interventions provide such widespread benefit at such low cost - treating and preventing worms costs less than $0.30 per child per year in Bihar, and the majority of costs are covered by the government and through generous pharmaceutical donation programs. DtW’s support for these programs is only pennies per child.

We thank you for your generous support and look forward to providing you with continued positive news from the state of Bihar.


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Project Leader

Heidi McAnnally-Linz

New Haven, CT United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Deworm for health and education in Bihar, India