On Friday, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Department of Health (DOH) and Johnson and Johnson Philippines to assist the Soil-transmitted Helminthiasis Control Program of the DOH.

An adult Trichuris female human whipworm/CDC
An adult Trichuris female human whipworm/CDC

J&J will provide the program a total of 46,000,000 tablets of Mebendazole medicine. This will be used to deworm all five to twelve year old school children enrolled in public elementary schools, while students enrolled in private schools and the out of school youth may avail of the free deworming services in health centers, rural health units, and barangay health stations.

The National Deworming Program activity is conducted every January and July to reduce the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminthiasis (or intestinal parasitism) among school age children.

Soil-transmitted helminths refer to the intestinal worms infecting humans that are transmitted through contaminated soil (“helminth” means parasitic worm): Ascaris lumbricoides (sometimes called just “Ascaris“), whipworm (Trichuris trichiura), and hookworm (Anclostoma duodenale and Necator americanus). A large part of the world’s population is infected with one or more of these soil-transmitted helminths.