Albendazole De-worming Pills Available for Non-profits or Communities in Haiti
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Washington, DC – June 16, 2011 – International Action’s Haiti office is distributing 500,000 albendazole de-worming pills to protect Haiti’s communities and get its children healthy and back in school. The pills are available free of charge to non-profit or community organizations that can administer them.
From 2009-10 International Action helped to distribute over 700,000 doses of albendazole throughout the country, but there is much more work to be done. Millions of Haitians remain afflicted by worms that can cause anemia, vitamin deficiencies, a weakened immune system, lethargy, poor cognitive development in children, and can magnify the effects of diarrhea. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that worms can consume up to 20% of a child’s nutrition intake. In Haiti, many children are malnourished, and cannot afford the loss of nutrition to parasites.
Albendazole pills not only rid recipients of hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and other worms that are commonly found in Haiti, but also protect them for four months afterward. Evidence shows administering de-worming pills helps to protect even those who do not receive them, as distribution of the pills slows the spread of worms in communities.
De-worming programs have been so effective that they are listed among the most effective approaches to combating poverty in Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel’s widely acclaimed, new book, More Than Good Intentions. Karlan and Appel cite studies that have demonstrated that de-worming programs can generate an extra year of education for a child for only $3.50. The next most cost effective program, uniform give-aways, costs $100 to achieve the same goal. Treating children with de-worming pills at a young age increases the potential income that person may earn by up to 29%.
One organization, the Digicel Foundation, has already proposed to distribute 45,000 dosages through its 20 schools in Haiti in order to cover 9,000 children and their households. The foundation can then easily monitor the effects of distribution on school attendance.
For more information on de-worming projects, see World Bank, “School De-worming”; and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School, “WHO De-worming.”