Botswana conducts a joint deworming and school health programme

Gaborone, Botswana – 1 March 2019: The Ministry of Health and Wellness, through support from WHO, carried a joint activity from 25th February to 1st March 2019, on the 2nd mass drug administration of (MDA) of Albendazole for 5-14 years school going children and booster vaccination on Diphtheria/Tetanus (DT) and oral polio for standard 1 and Tetanus Toxoid (TT) for standard 7 pupils. The objective of the activity was to deworm children and cut transmission cycle of Soil Helimenthes. Basic school health program activities were jointly conducted. Children were examined for hearing, eye sight, oral hygiene and general well-being.

The MDA is part of the planned interventions following the 2015 NTDs mapping exercise conducted in 9 districts. It will be recalled the exercise revealed a prevalence of over 20% on Soil Transmitted Helimenthes. Two phased MDA interventions were planned following the mapping exercise. In the first phase 5 districts including Selibe Phikwe, Jwaneng, Mahalapye, Ngami, Okavango conducted MDA in 2018. The second phase was conducted in February 2019 covering 4 districts namely Tsabong, Mabutsane, Lobatse and Chobe. About 30,000 children have been successfully treated. The third round of MDA is expected to take place in November 2019 after which post treatment surveillance to measure the impact will take place.

The success of the MDA was enabled by collaborative work with stakeholders, community leaders, teachers and local government district officers. The activity was led and conducted by the District Health Management staff and supported by Ministry of Health and Wellness and WHO. WHO provided technical support and donated Albendazole drugs. The leverage on the Child Health, EPI and the School health programs, provided necessary requirements for the MDA; including advocacy, social mobilization, and resources ( staff, transport, and funding). The robust leadership from the traditional authorities played pivotal role in the social mobilization of the communities. The cooperation and support from The Ministry of Education and Skills development was also helpful in availing time to treat schools children.

Source: World Health Organization