How Deworming Works
For schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths, treatment is cheap, easy and safe. Depending on the prevalence of infections, treatment takes place once every six months, one year or two years. The tablets are administered orally and only a few people will experience side-effects such as transient abdominal pain and diarrhea. All school-aged children are encouraged to come to school on that day, where their name and age is recorded, and their height and weight (where possible) is measured, before being treated.
The WHO recommends treatment of all school-age children where there is prevalence of Schistosomiasis, and where prevalence is above 20% for STH. This is because the cost of treating a worm infection is less than the cost of the diagnostic test required to detect it and because the treatment is safe even when taken by a child who is not infected. The safe nature of this procedure also means teachers can be trained to safely deworm children thereby simplifying administration procedures and lowering overall costs.
Due to the inevitability of reinfection in endemic areas, children need to be treated regularly. Programs to improve sanitation support deworming programs by reducing the rate of reinfection.