Abia State Government has flagged off the In – School Deworming Programme for children in public and private schools in six selected LGAs of the State.
Speaking at the event , the Wife of the Abia State Governor, Mrs. Priscila Otti said that the In – School Deworming Programme is a proactive approach aimed at safeguarding the health and future of Abia children . She said, “by providing regular deworming treatments in our schools, we take a significant step toward protecting our children from the harmful effects of these parasites”
Mrs. Otti, represented by the Wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adaeze Emetu said that “The In-School Deworming Programme in the State signifies our unwavering commitment to ensuring the welfare of every child who enters our school gates” She disclosed that the deworming initiative will be piloted in six Local Government Areas of the State including; Ohafia, Bende, Ikwuano, Isialangwa South, Obingwa and Osisioma while the target of the in-school children to be dewormed is approximately sixty thousand.
The Wife of the Governor explained that “Our decision to focus on children aged 6 to 14 years was informed by research indicating that most donor agencies typically pay more attention to children between the ages of 0 to 5 years. Recognizing this gap and its implications for our growing generation, the State government through the In-School Deworming Program, decided to address it to ensure that every child in Abia is dewormed ” She enjoined all stakeholders to make the programme a success.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eme Uche and the the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo represented by the Director of Public Health , Dr. Princes Agomuo described the programme as a life saving exercise and enjoined children, mothers and care givers to ensure children internalise hand washing to enhance hygiene among the children. They commended the Wife of the Governor for the laudable project and assured they would support the programme.
Earlier in her speech, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Vulnerable Groups and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Ifeoma Thomas said the essence of the In-School Deworming Programme was to eradicate worm infestation among school age children. She disclosed that about 35 million children between 6 to 14 are estimated to be infected with worm. She said , “Her Excellency, Mrs. Priscila Chidinma Otti, realising that school age children 6 to 14 are the vulnerable sub set of the population that are majorly exposed to soil transmission infection “, hence , the introduction of the programme.
She explained that the deworming exercise is a pilot programme for children in primary one to junior secondary schools in 6 selected LGAs and thanked the Wife of the Governor for her concern on the vulnerable people and appreciated some partners including civil society organizations, donor agencies, SMOH, CARITARS, ANRIN, SOLINA, HSCL and HOPE SPRING for their collaborations.
Speaking on behalf of the partners, Mrs. Caroline Charles said deworming can reduce the effects of the parasite on the children and commended the Wife of the Governor for the initiative and assured they would continue to collaborate with government to achieve the aim of the programme.
The maintained that the aim of the exercise was to ensure that every school child is properly dewormed and and stressed the need for all to support the programme.
In a vote of thanks, one of the benefiting children and student of Body of Christ International School School, Umuahia, Miss Marvelous Darlington thanked the Wife of the Governor for her decision to deworm Abia school children and prayed God to bless her.
Highlights of the event was the demonstrative deworming of the school children by the representative of the Governor’s wife.