Sightsavers deworming programs treat school-aged children for two neglected tropical diseases, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth.
Schistosomiasis can damage the intestine, bladder, liver, lungs and spleen and cause anemia, malnutrition and learning disabilities in children.
Soil-transmitted helminth, also known as intestinal worms, can impair cognitive and physical development and lead to a range of illnesses.
Both diseases are endemic in many countries in Africa. They cause absenteeism from school on a regular basis and prevent children from reaching their full potential. Studies link deworming school children to increased educational attainment and long-term productivity and income gains.
Schistosomiasis and intestinal worms are preventable through the administration of medicine on a regular basis. Treatment is donated free of charge by leading pharmaceutical companies and distributed via mass drug distribution programs. Sightsavers’ programs work in partnership with Ministries of Health to train thousands of local volunteers and teachers to deliver treatments.
Sightsavers carries out post-treatment surveys to verify treatment data and disease surveillance work to establish where treatment is needed most and where best to focus resources.