Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The wife of Abia State Governor, Mrs Priscilla Otti, Tuesday, flagged off the deworming of 60,000 school children in state.
She said that the exercise was aimed at saving Abia school children from the devastating effects of worms.
The Governor’s wife who was represented by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Adaeze Emetu, said worms and parasitic infections could severely impact a child’s health, growth, and cognitive development.
She re-stated Government’s resolve to ensure the safety and well-being of Abia children.
“It is our responsibility to eliminate this silent threat and ensure our children are free from these preventable diseases. The In-School Deworming Programme is a proactive approach aimed at safeguarding the health and future of our youth.
“By providing regular deworming treatments in our schools, we take a significant step toward protecting our children from the harmful effects of these parasites. This Programme will enable our students to focus on their education, improve their overall well-being, and ensure they have a better chance to achieve their dreams.”
“This signifies Government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring the welfare of every child who enters our school gates.”
“We understand that the well-being of our children is closely tied to their ability to learn effectively and reach their full potential, hence our efforts to give them the best.”
This Abia First Lady identified the pilot Local Government Areas for the exercise as :Ohafia, Bende, Ikwuano, Isialangwa South, Obingwa, and Osisioma, with a target of deworming approximately 60,000 in-school children.
Mrs Otti urged schools, parents and other stakeholders to assist in the efforts to eradicate parasites in children and pave the way for their healthier and brighter future.
She commended donors agencies for their support to the project.
In a remark, Commissioner for Education, Professor Uche Eme Uche, urged pupils to internalise the culture of hand washing to reduce the chances of worm infestation.
She said that schools would be sensitised on the need to maintain proper hygiene.
Speaking earlier, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Vulnerable Groups and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Ifeoma Thomas, noted that the success of the programme depended on collective commitment and participation of all the stakeholders.
“As parents, teachers, and community members, it is our duty to ensure that every child benefits from the In-School Deworming Programme,” she said.
She decried the rate of worm infestation in the country, saying time for action to stem the tide has come.
“It is alarming to note that approximately 35 million children aged 5 to 14 are affected by various soil-transmitted helminths, with an estimated 2.9 million of them suffering from moderate-to-heavy intensity infections, primarily in Southern Nigeria.”
Mrs Caroline Charles who spoke on behalf of the partners including CARITAS, Solina Health Limited and HSCL, among others, said they were focused on children between 6- 59 months.
She said that over 1,040,000 units of albendazole had been donated to the on-going deworming exercise in Abia.