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Sub-regional De-worming training kicks-off

Jan 27, 2010, 2:06 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

A three-day sub-regional De-worming training and Fast Track Initiative Proposal Development for Education Sector yesterday kicked-off at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, funded by the Partnership For Child Development, in collaboration with De-worm the World and World Bank.

In her speech, Mrs. Amie Cole Mbye, the Principal Education Officer and Coordinator of the De-worming Task Force said that in recognition of the obstacles caused by parasitic diseases to the social development of the child, a lot of emphasis should be placed on how to minimise the spread of these infections using the simplest available methods.

According to her, school based health interventions will go a long way towards addressing health issues. She noted that the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education's target is to achieve regular treatment for all school-going age children at risk of morbidity for schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthes infection by the end of 2011.

The school based health programme for the school-going age children, she added, should involve many partners.

"In this regard and considering the fact that there are many key players in the implementation of school health programmes, the ministry has set up a task force which will not only look into De-worming but will have an expanded vision on other health problems, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS etc," she said.

She noted that the timely intervention of De-worm the World, PCD and World Bank cannot be over-emphasised as it would go a long way in ensuring that school-going age children in The Gambia and other African countries are not only enrolled, but retained with high performance.

"There are evidence-based results with the pilot case in Kenya from which we will be benefiting during this training," she said, adding that the success and implementation of school health programmes would not have been possible without the continuous and tireless support of Professor Don Bundy, Dr Lesley Drake and their team.

In declaring the training open, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Baboucarr Bouy said the forum, among others, seeks to assist the government of The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia to develop school health proposal for Fast Track Initiative funding using De-worming as an entry point.

According to him, it also seeks to provide master level training in the design and implementation of school-based de-worming.

"It is for this reason that The Gambia's education sector, in close partnership with development partners such as ADB, UNICEF, WHO and WFP benefited from the implementation of a school-based de-worming programme which is described as a safe, simple and cost-effective strategy," he concluded.