Deworm children to keep them healthy  

By Godfred A. Polkuu  

Bolgatanga, Aug. 22, GNA – Dr Kofi Asare-Ansah, a Physician Specialist at the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga, has entreated parents and guardians to regularly deworm their children against worm infestations to prevent anaemia and other health complications.   

They must also keep records to serve as a reminder for the next due date to deworm.   

“Usually, when children are not dewormed, they end up with anaemia, and anaemia can lead to a lot of complications,” Dr Asare-Ansah told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a screening exercise at Soe, a suburb in the Bolgatanga Municipality.   

According to scientists, there are many different types of intestinal worms. However, the most common is threadworm (also called pinworm). Threadworm is a type of roundworm that is commonly found in preschool and school-aged children. The whole family can become infected. 

The most common signs of a pinworm infection are itching around the anus and restless sleep. The itching is usually worse at night because the worms move to the area around the anus to lay their eggs. In girls, pinworm infection can spread to the vagina and cause a vaginal discharge. 

According to facts provided by the Royal Children’s Hospital of Melbourne, threadworm gets its name because the worms look like white threads, which are about one centimetre long. The worms live in the lower intestine, but they come out of the anus over night to lay their eggs in the area between the buttocks, which causes your child’s bottom to feel very itchy. It is estimated that one female threadworm can lay up to 16,000 eggs. 

Threadworm is spread when children scratch their bottom, causing the eggs to collect under the fingernails. The child then carries the worm eggs back to their mouth with their hands. The eggs can also be spread indirectly, in food, dust, or other items. The eggs can survive up to two weeks outside the body. 

Once the child swallows threadworm eggs, the eggs hatch in the child’s small intestine and the worms travel down to their anus. 

The screening was at the instance of the Paediatric Department of the Regional Hospital, with funding support from the Anini Project, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).   

The exercise involved many children who were screened by a team of health professionals from the Hospital and other health facilities for malaria and anaemia.    

Asked the appropriate age for children to be dewormed, the Physician Specialist said, “Usually at age two, when they go for weighing, they are supposed to be dewormed, and subsequently, they can either deworm three or six months.”   

Dr Asare-Ansah said most of the children that were screened had anaemia and malaria and called on parents to pay critical attention to the nutrition of their children to up their haemoglobin levels.   

As part of his physical examination of the children, the doctor urged parents to protect their children from mosquito bites to avoid malaria.