In 2013, the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Honduras organized a pilot deworming campaign for preschool- and school-aged children as part of Honduras’ national vaccination week. The pilot would not have been possible without the support and coordinated efforts of the Ministry of Education, World Food Programme’s (WFP) Healthy Schools Program, Operation Blessing and MAMA Project. These organizations came together to ensure that all targeted districts in 18 states and 298 municipalities were reached, and all students received medication.
1,051,659 children in 11,576 schools throughout 298 municipalities received deworming medication.
To support this project, END7 filled a funding gap of $28,000 to help facilitate the training of school children, teachers, and communities on parasitic worms and the importance of hand washing. END7 donations also delivered clean water to 100,461 people by purchasing and installing water treatment equipment in the municipalities of Marcovia and El Triunfo.
Honduras has successfully integrated NTD treatment and prevention into existing national activities, such as school health days and vaccination weeks. The Ministry of Health’s national NTD committee, called the Mesa Tecnica, includes NTD experts from the Ministry of Health, PAHO country office and various other partners, including academia and non-governmental organizations conducting deworming and other NTD activities in the country. The committee has already developed eight department level operational plans and trained personnel from each department on NTD control-related activities. The group is now working to identify support to close the funding gap to reach annually more than two million children at risk in the most rural areas, an effort that will help the country meet its goal to end intestinal worm infections.
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Photos by Olivier Asselin and Alexandra Gordon