Deworming programme in India sparks controversy

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 11 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h720
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. 1New Delhi

India’s health ministry has launched the world’s largest mass deworming programme amid concerns that the government has disregarded multiple medical studies, including a Cochrane review that failed to find significant public health benefits for community deworming.

The programme, which began on 10 February, will provide albendazole twice a year to 140 million children aged 1-19 in 11 states with presumed high levels of soil transmitted helminths and once a year to 100 million children in other states.

The government said in a statement that the World Health Organization has estimated that about 241 million Indian children are at risk of infection with parasitic worms that have been associated with debilitating consequences on health and education. It said that the worms cause anaemia and undernutrition and that “rigorous research evidence shows that children when dewormed attend school more and have better …

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