No adverse effects of deworming in region

THE DEPARTMENT of Health yesterday denied the likelihood of medical poisoning in the region, following reports there were around 1,000 pupils in Zamboanga allegedly hospitalized because of the agency’s mass deworming activity.

However, DOH XI program coordinator for soil-based helminthiasis Gracita Berguia admitted there were reported instances of adverse reactions, but these were normal especially for children who did not eat prior to the deworming.

“There were a few isolated cases of adverse reactions,” she said. “Rashes and vomiting are expected if the pupil is allergic to the medicine.”

DOH regional director Abdullah Dumama, Jr., in a telephone interview, said he has spoken with the DOH 9 regional office, which said the report was not true and not verified.

According to the Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the agency, there were 56 pupils that were hospitalized due to symptoms like stomachaches and vomiting in Davao del Sur, specifically Digos, Bansalan, Magsaysay, Sto. Tomas and Sta. Cruz.

The RESU also reported that the stomachaches were treated with hyperacidity remedies, which confirms a symptom of one of the side effects of the medicine.

Dumama added that during the mass deworming, there was also a DepEd official who allegedly stopped a mass deworming activity, due to an unverified death at the Barayong Elementary School.

“But when we verified the report, it was not true,” Dumama said. “It was a hoax.”

The agency, however, admitted there could have been a lapse, especially in the case of the Zamboanga incidents.

“Some of the teachers who were not there during the initial briefing were allowed to help out with the mass deworming,” he said.

The students, teachers, and other personnel should have been informed that at the minimum, the children should have eaten before going through with the deworming.

They should also have been found to be healthy before the activity.

“We had one case where the patient passed eight worms after the deworming, so naturally the patient would have experienced fever,” he said.

Dumama said the regional office was able to deworm 605,762 children out of 759,082 eligible children for deworming.

While short of its 85% target, Berguia said there would be follow-ups that would be conducted in the next few days to account for those who were not dewormed.

Dumama also said there was no truth to the claim that the medicines that were used during the deworming were expired.

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