June 20, 2024

LAGAWE, Ifugao – The Provincial Health Office encouraged the public, especially parents, to get their children dewormed and practice proper hygiene and sanitation to keep them healthy.
Chery Faith Apangchan of the PHO said soil-transmitted helminth infections (STH), commonly known as intestinal worms, continue to be a public health concern affecting children, expectant mothers, food handlers, farmers, and indigenous peoples.
Children aged two to four years and school-aged children five to 18 years old are the most vulnerable to infection.
STH are parasitic infections from contaminated soil, food, or water, which usually affect underprivileged communities with poor access to adequate water sanitation and hygiene.
STH can hinder physical and cognitive development especially in children, which can result in malnutrition, frailty, and poor scholastic and physical progress.
It also causes anemia in pregnant women and increases the chance that their unborn children will be underweight. 
This happens as a result of the worms feeding on the host’s tissues, particularly the blood, which causes protein and iron loss, according to the National Nutrition Council. 
Regular deworming proves to be helpful in avoiding the severe effects of worm infection, thus it is important to deworm twice a year, Apangchan said during the Hummangan with PIA radio program at Radyo Kiphodan 99.1 FM to promote National Deworming Month.  
The Department of Health’s “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for All” campaign is one of the initiatives to prevent STH.  
The campaign pushes for an end to open defecation to avoid the spread of worm eggs into the soil.
The public is also advised to wear slippers or shoes to prevent hookworm infections, wash hands with soap and clean water, and wash vegetables and cook them thoroughly before eating.   
National Deworming Month is observed every January and July. This year’s theme is “Makilahok sa oplan goodbye bulate para maging malusog, masigla, at matalino ang inyong mga anak.” – Florida B. Robles