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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.