LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 13 (PNA) -– The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol, along with local government units (LGUS), have intensified their deworming campaign called “Oplan Goodbye Bulate” among the 2.5 million “18-year-old below” population in the region.
Dr. Janish Alcala-Arellano, DOH cluster program coordinator, said the deworming activity is being conducted to achieve a “100-percent bulate (worms)-free” target population in the region.
She said deworming for the 5- to 18-year-old age group is being conducted in all public schools while those pupils enrolled in private schools need to avail of the medicines in their communities through their Rural Health Units (RHUs).
Arellano said the 1- to 4-year-old population will be provided with medicines during their communities’ scheduled deworming activity.
She said in Bicol, they see an estimated 2.5 million children as the target population of “Oplan Goodbye Bulate.”
Arellano said the target population is 605,438 for ages 1 to 4; 1,403,262 (ages 5-14); and 497,940 (ages 15 to 18).
She explained that the DOH campaign seeks to address the fears and myths associated to deworming as it conducts a “harmonized schedule and mass drug administration” in public and private schools nationwide against the soil-transmitted worms called helminthiasis or STH.
Arellano clarified that the deworming activity is also a year-round activity of the DOH, along with the LGUs and Department of Education, as school-aged children enrolled in private schools and children who are not in enrolled in the school system may avail of the free deworming services at health centers, RHUs and barangay health stations.
She said the program aims to deworm approximately 19 million school-aged children enrolled in public schools (Kindergarten to K12) and some 23 million pre-school and school-aged children not enrolled in public schools within a month nationwide.
Arellano said the “National School Deworming Month” is not a new campaign of the DOH.
“Last 2015, it was already administered to public schools. We will continue this campaign twice a year, particularly in January and July,” she said.
Arellano assured the public that all medicines distributed are certified by the World Health Organization and Food and Drug Administration.
She dismissed misconceptions on the anti-bulate (worms) medicines and appealed to the parents and guardians not to believe in wrong information being circulated in social media and community.
“The administration of medicines is voluntary and will not be implemented without the consent forms filled up by the parent or guardian of the child in public elementary schools,” said Arellano.
She said just like any other drug, taking deworming drugs may lead to minimal side effects like dizziness, nausea, headache and vomiting.
“These effects are transient, minor, self-limiting and disappear after some time and can easily be managed with remedies like resting in a quiet room for a few hours and providing water mixed with sugar to the patient,” Arellano said. (PNA) LAP/GVR/MDR/CBD