20 million school-age children across 26 countries to be dewormed in 2009

Deworm the World (DtW) and their Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) education mega-commitment partners will deworm 20 million school-age children across 26 countries in 2009, doubling the original commitment target for year one of 10 million children in 19 countries.

Under the 2008 education mega-commitment on school feeding and deworming aimed at improving the education and health of millions of children worldwide, DtW, together with Feed The Children, the World Food Programme, American Institutes for Research, and other partners, support and advocate for government action leading to the development of strategically targeted, sustainable, school-based deworming programs. Focusing on the at-risk school-age populations in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America, deworming coverage will increase, with additional funding, to reach up to 75 million children over three years.

A chronic condition, parasitic worms affect over 400 million school-age children worldwide, harming their health, nutrition and cognitive development, and threatening their educational access and learning.

Mass school-based deworming is a safe, simple and cost-effective solution. At a cost of less than $0.50 per child per year, deworming can reduce school absenteeism by 25% and is one of the most cost-effective methods of improving school participation ever rigorously evaluated. An education policy priority, deworming is a crucial step towards achieving universal primary education and improving children's long-term productivity.

DtW coordinates action among implementing partners, linking medication to country programs, raising additional funds for their distribution where required, and providing technical and strategic support to develop and strengthen deworming policy and programs. Leveraging the "best buy" power of school-based deworming, DtW expanded coverage to 20 million additional school-age children at an investment of only two million dollars ($0.10 per child) in 2009.

Following the announcement of "20 for 2," DtW is seeking to increase coverage in 2010 to 50 million school-age children for under five million dollars. These programs are ready to launch as soon as additional funding is secured. This funding will increase the supply and distribution of medication, expand on the ground technical support for governments, and establish a global web-portal, enabling open access to worm infection data and documenting real-time global deworming activities for improved strategic targeting and program design.

If there are any "silver bullets" or "best buys" for the education sector, then deworming is surely one.

To learn more about how you can take action, visit www.dewormtheworld.org or email [email protected]


Deworm the World


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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