Health Minister dispels fears of deworming drug side-effects

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, February 11, 2016

Despite some mild adverse effects, Albendazole is a safe drug for deworming, Union Health & Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda said today amid reports in the media of some children complaining of nausea, gastric irritation and giddiness on being administered the tablets as part of the nationwide deworming initiative.
"Albendazole 400 mg is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of parasitic worms. It is approved by the World Health Organization for treatment of worms and used globally," the Minister said asking people not to panic.
“A total of 236 children among a target of 270 million have reported some mild adverse events from states of Bihar, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. The children were hospitalised, kept under observation and discharged without any major or serious complications. This is as per our standard protocol,” he added.
“Such adverse incidences are noticed when the worm load is high among the children. Care needs to be taken that the children are administered this drug in the presence of teachers or guardians,” Mr Nadda said.
The National Deworming Day, a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, was observed yesterday. It is the largest ever single-day public health campaign in the world targeting approximately 270 million children in the 1-19 age group at risk of parasitic worm infection, through the platform of schools and anganwadi centres.
The target population includes 80 million in the 1-5 age group and and 190 million children in the 6-19 years across 561 districts of the country. More than 900,000 education and health workers administered Albendazole tablet to children in schools and anganwadis across the country.
However, 137 districts in 14 States had been excluded from the deworming initiative this year having already been covered during Mass Drug Administration in Lyphatic Filarsis programme of the Health Ministry. Robust systems of monitoring have been set up and health workers trained to administer the deworming tablets, an official press release said.