The Department of Health (DOH) addresses fears and myths associated to deworming as it conducts a Harmonized Schedule and Mass Drug Administration in public & private schools nationwide against soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH).

The National School Deworming Month (NSDM) is an initiative of the DOH in collaboration with The Department of Education & The Department of the Interior Local Government to conduct a nationwide, simultaneous effort to deworm all 5-18 years old children enrolled in public schools. School-aged children enrolled in private schools and children who are not enrolled may avail of the free deworming services at health centers, rural health units and barangay health stations.

The program aims to deworm approximately 19 million school-aged children enrolled in public schools (Kindergarten to K12) and at least 23 million pre-school and school-aged children not enrolled in public schools in a month.

“We would like to reiterate that the NSDM is not a new campaign for DOH. Last 2015, it was already administered to public schools and we will continue this campaign twice a year, particularly in January and July. We also ensure that all medicines distributed are certified by World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We appeal to the parents and guardians not to believe in wrong information circulated in social media and in the community. Let us verify our facts by consulting the nearest health facility regarding deworming,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial explained.

The administration of medicines is voluntary and will not be implemented without the consent forms filled up by the parent or guardian of the child in public elementary schools. Just like any other drug, taking deworming drugs may lead to minimal side effects like dizziness, nausea, headache and vomiting. These effects are transient, minor, self-limiting and disappear after some time and can easily be managed with remedies like resting in a quiet room for a few hours and providing water mixed with sugar.

Last July 2016, the DOH continued its National School Deworming Month campaign in public schools nationwide. Latest data showed that 15,853,687 out of 19,250,273 or 82% of enrolled students ages 5-18 years old were dewormed while 7,875,599 out of 10,599,699 pre-school aged children (1 to 4 years old) were dewormed. Most of the regions in this country accomplished more than the recommended target by WHO which is 75%.

“Let us not deprive our children of the protection among serious illnesses. Ask and verify facts on deworming from your nearest health facility. Makiisa sa National School Deworming Month at ating pahintulutang purgahin ng ating mga school staff and health workers ang inyong mga anak,” Secretary Ubial concluded.