EDITORIAL| A sanitary environment for our children

THE HEALTH of our young children will determine their physical and mental development when they grow older. Even as we take care of their nutrition and sanitation, parents should also look into deworming their young children to ascertain their overall health.

A deworming campaign, the third round since it began in 2015, is conducted by the Department of Health to combat the high prevalence of children affected by intestinal parasitic infections.

In a Mindanao Times interview (MT, January 29 issue), Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the infestation rate is very high in the country and reaches 65 to 75 percent in some areas. This, she said, affects the children’s school performance, nutritional status and optimal growth.

Soil-transmitted helminthiasis—a type of helminth infections—are caused by different species of roundworms like ascaris, hookworms, and trichuris transmitted when people go barefoot. These parasites, like hookworms, penetrate the skin. Other parasites such as ascaris can be ingested when hands are not washed properly before eating.

The parasites can cause anemia, malnutrtion, and other more serious illnesses. As a result, the learning capacities, language and memory of a child is affected.

This could be prevented if families are educated on the importance of sanitation and handwashing. Since infection is mostly due to unclean surroundings, children should be taught to wear slippers and to practice cleanliness at all times.

Like other communicable diseases, the community should take part in providing an environment for the children to thrive and grow healthy and productive. Deworming alone cannot ensure children’s health but a sanitary environment can definitely go a long way in keeping our children strong and healthy

Posted in Opinion