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Published On: Sat, Oct 8th, 2016

Dubai Cares scheme to deworm 15.6m Ethiopian kids

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Through the programme spending Dh4.8 million, 15.6 million children of school age are given treatment to eradicate intestinal worms and diseases.

Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has joined a consortium of partners to undertake a mass school-deworming programme in Ethiopia.

Through the programme spending Dh4.8 million, 15.6 million children of school age are given treatment to eradicate intestinal worms and diseases such as schistosomiasis (also known as snail fever), soil-transmitted helminths (STH), river blindness (onchocerciasis), lymphatic filariasis (LF) and trachoma. These conditions account for 90 per cent of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) burden in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dubai Cares will work along with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), Evidence Action, The END Fund and other international donors, and the programme is being implemented in conjunction with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH). It is part of a larger, five-year master plan to treat more than 75 per cent of at-risk school-age children in all nine regions in Ethiopia by 2020. During the five-year programme, more than 100 million treatments will be administered, representing a major contribution to reducing the global burden of worms on children.

“The government of Ethiopia, as evident by the efforts of Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, has made the control of NTDs a national priority,” said Dubai Cares Chief Executive Officer Tariq Al Gurg. “This represents a level of commitment rarely seen from governments and is to be applauded. The government has stated that school-aged children are particularly vulnerable and, with the support of Dubai Cares and our partners, the lives of millions of these young people across the country will be improved and, in many cases, saved. Parasitic intestinal worms contribute to poor health, poor nutritional outcomes and threaten children’s livelihoods. No community should suffer the consequences of preventable tropical diseases and we are extremely pleased to be able to contribute to their treatment.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 200,000 people die annually as a result of contracting schistosomiasis, with a further 200 million suffering serious health consequences, and Ethiopia is one of the three highest Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa, alongside Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We are at a point where these diseases are no longer neglected, they are getting worldwide attention and action is being taken to tackle them. Our priority now should be to completely eliminate these diseases from existence,” concluded Al Gurg.

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