In a proactive move to prioritize the health and well-being of school children, the Abia State Government initiated the In-School Deworming Programme on Tuesday evening. The program, set to benefit children in both public and private schools, was officially launched in six selected local government areas, including Ohafia, Bende, Ikwuano, Isialangwa South, Obingwa, and Osisioma.
The announcement was made by Mrs. Priscila Otti, the wife of the state governor, who emphasized the significance of the initiative in protecting Abia’s children from the harmful effects of parasitic infections. Represented by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adaeze Emetu, Mrs. Otti conveyed the government’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of every child within the state’s school gates.
The In-School Deworming Programme aims to deworm approximately sixty thousand in-school children aged 6 to 14 years. This age range was selected based on research indicating a gap in attention from donor agencies for children in this bracket. Mrs. Otti underscored the government’s determination to address this gap and ensure the comprehensive deworming of every child in Abia.
Commissioners for Education and Health, Prof. Uche Eme Uche and Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Princes Agomuo, applauded the program as a life-saving exercise. They urged children, mothers, and caregivers to promote hygiene through proper handwashing practices.
Mrs. Ifeoma Thomas, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Vulnerable Groups and Poverty Alleviation, highlighted the program’s goal of eradicating worm infestations among school-age children. She revealed that an estimated 35 million children between the ages of 6 and 14 are currently affected by worm infections.
The government expressed gratitude to partners, including civil society organizations, donor agencies, SMOH, CARITARS, ANRIN, SOLINA, HSCL, and HOPE SPRING, for their collaborations. Mrs. Caroline Charles, speaking on behalf of the partners, commended the initiative and pledged continued collaboration to achieve the program’s objectives.
As Abia State takes this crucial step toward ensuring the health of its younger generation, the In-School Deworming Programme stands as a commendable initiative that reflects the state’s commitment to the well-being and future of its children.