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Dubai Cares to help deworm 15.6m Ethiopian children.

Summary: Massive two-year programme aims to eradicate diseases caused by parasitic worms

Staff Report

Dubai

Dubai Cares on Saturday announced it would join aid partners to take part in a massive two-year deworming programme in Ethiopia aimed at 15.6 million school children.

The treatment programme, which will cost Dh4.82 million, is to eradicate intestinal worms and diseases such as snail fever, (schistosomiasis), soil-transmitted helminths, river blindness (onchocerciasis), lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma.

These conditions account for 90 per cent of what the World Health Organisation (WHO) defines as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) burden in sub-Saharan Africa.

The deworming programme is part of a larger, five-year master plan to treat more than 75 per cent of at-risk school-age children in all nine regions in Ethiopia by 2020.

During this five-year programme, more than 100 million treatments will be administered, representing a major contribution to reducing the global burden of worms on children.

"The government of Ethiopia, as evident by the efforts of Ethiopia's Minister of Health, has made the control of NTDs a national priority," said Dubai Cares chief Tarek Al Gurg. "This represents a level of commitment rarely seen from governments and is to be applauded."

"The government has stated that school-aged children are particularly vulnerable and, with the support of Dubai Cares and our partners, the lives of millions of these young people across the country will be improved and, in many cases, saved."

Deadly disease

The WHO estimates that 200,000 people die annually as a result of contracting schistosomiasis, with a further 200 million suffering serious health consequences.

With its 90 million inhabitants, Ethiopia, which has the second largest population in Africa after Nigeria, is one of the three highest Neglected Tropical Disease burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

"We are at a point where these diseases are no longer neglected, they are getting worldwide attention and action is being taken to tackle them. Our priority now should be to completely eliminate these diseases from existence," said Al Gurg.

Dubai Cares other partners in the programme include the London-based Children's Investment Fund Foundation, the UK government's Department for International Development, the Ethiopian government's Public Health Institute, and Evidence Action and the END Fund, both based in the United States.

This is not the first time Dubai Cares has supported a state-led initiative in Ethiopia. The UAE-based global philanthropic organisation launched an integrated programme of homegrown school feeding, water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions and deworming treatment programme.

These programmes in the country are in support of a wider initiative towards better education.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:60SUB
Date:Oct 8, 2016
Words:440
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