The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in collaboration with the Kwara State Government is to deworm over 90,000 school-age children in the state.
Towards this end, the partners flagged off the deworming programme under the national home-grown school feeding programme in selected 11 schistosomiasis endemic local government areas of the state.
The National Coordinator of the National Tropical Diseases (NTD) unit of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Nse Akpan, said that 63 wards in the 11 local government areas that are classified as highly and moderately endemic with schistosomiasis would be treated with free, safe and effective praziquantel PZQ 600mg.
The NTD National Coordinator, represented by Mr. Adewale Ayodeji said that the deworming drug was donated to the state through the federal ministry of Health, adding that it would be administered using a calibrated dose pole on the children.
Dr. Akpan said that over 804,219 school age children and over 184,289 adults are at risk of schistosomiasis, adding that the disease is endemic in 15 local government areas of Kwara state.
“These figures show a significant number of at risk population in the North-Central zone and Nigeria at large if left untreated with the aid of WHO and FMoH treatment guideline”, he added.
Also speaking, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, who was represented by Mrs Idiatu Ibiyeye, said that the nationwide deworming exercise, with particular emphasis on those pupils benefiting from the national home-grown school-feeding programme (NHGSP) aimed to give school-age children access to free deworming medications together with the free meals.
Earlier, the state coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), Hajia AbdulRazaq, had said that an estimated 1,456 schools were enlisted to benefit free feeding programme in the state during flag off in July 2022.
She said that schistosomiasis disease remained a major cause of mortality and morbidity, adding that it is characterized by passage of blood in urine and ultimately affect physical fitness and intractable chronic infections which lead to cognitive loss.