HARIPUR: The government’s school-based deworming campaign received a lukewarmresponse in Haripur district as most residents opposed their children taking anthelmintics.
Most students absented themselves from schools, while parents of several others asked teachers not to give worm pills to their children.
“A total of 115 students are enrolled in my school but only 30 have showed up, while the others remained absent and when their parents were approached, they voiced fears about deworming and refused to send children to school,” a teacher of a government primary school in Pharhala Circle.
He said parents feared that anthelmintics would harm the children’s health.
A teacher of the Government Primary School, Alooli, said the school had 300 children but only 80 turned up with parents of most of them declining deworming.
The deworming refusal was reported in other schools of the district as well.
There are also reports of over a dozen children being shifted to hospitals from different government and private schools over vomiting and stomachache complaints following the consumption of anthelmintics.
The doctors insisted that it was a temporary condition associated with deworming and had nothing to worry about.
District education officer Umar Khan Kundi said stereotypes would’ve have forced some parents to decline the children’s deworming.
He said since parents weren’t supposed to pay for medication, it was quite natural that they raised non-issues about it like polio vaccination.
Also, many schoolchildren were shifted to health centres in both Upper and Lower Chitral districts as they complained of vomiting and dizziness after being administered anthelmintics on the first day of the deworming campaign.
However, they were discharged after treatment.
Deputy commissioner of Upper Chitral Shah Saud told Dawn that vomiting and dizziness complaints were reported in Dizg, Phashk, Kosht and Oveer villages of Upper Chitral and Phasti, Prayeet, Jinjirat Koh and Arkari villages of Lower Chitral.
District health officer Dr Mujeebur Rahman insisted that the children with weak immunity or empty stomach were vulnerable to the worm tablet’s reaction but it was not a matter of concern.
He said those missing deworming dose would be covered later.
In Shangla, dozens of students fainted after the teachers administered worm tablets to them.
Such incidents were also reported in Lilonai, Alpurai and other areas.
The teachers shifted them to the district headquarters hospital, Alpuri.
Spokesperson for Alpuri DHQ hospital Dr Sharifullah Saqib said over 30 children were brought to the hospital but they all were stable and were discharged after treatment.
In Batkhela, around 50 schoolchildren, including girls, were shifted to the district headquarters hospital over complaints of stomachache and vomiting after deworming.
They were discharged after brief treatment.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2019
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