The Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) recently presented the results of a survey on the prevalence of intestinal worms in Haiti. This survey confirms that about 25% of Haitian children from 6 to 15 years suffering from some form of intestinal parasites.
The survey also found that 80% of students of the same age, unaware of how one can be infected with intestinal worms and do not know how to protect from contamination; 60% of schools do not have toilets for the physiological needs of children and 40% have no water or drinking water, lamented Dr. Florence D. Guillaume, Minister of Public Health “It is not serious to talk about contamination of children by intestinal worms in 2015, the situation is alarming, however, we must pose the problem, because we talk about health […] In the United States, when there is a parasitic disease in an analysis, the person is put in quarantine to be followed. But in Haiti, people tend to trivialize this public health problem by saying ‘tout ayisyen gen vè’. No person is born infected, it becomes by catching the bacterium somewhere.”
“Health, education, the economy, are among other of determining factors for the development of a country. Intestinal worms can cause serious consequences on the health, development and learning for children including anemia,” indicated the Minister Guillaume. “Now, we have mobile school clinics to deworming in schools, but recontamination is problematic. Fighting parasitosis, is a major public health is everyone’s sectors : health workers, teachers, parents, students and others. Everyone is concerned, because no one is immune, we talk about the future of our children,” she insisted.
Dr. Anne-Marie Désormeaux, the MSPP Technical Advisor explained that intestinal worms are dangerous, they bite the organ in which they are housed when they can not find needed nutrients. They cause abdominal pain, anemia, memory loss, etc… “One child can generate packets of 700 to 1000 parasites. When these packets clog intetins, they can even cause death of the child, if there is no recourse to surgery to release the body, adding that “200 providers and 4,000 teachers will be trained soon by the MSPP in order to promote the prevention and strengthen deworming campaign nationally.”
Dr. Jean Luc Poncelet, the Representative of PAHO/WHO in Haiti, said that 2 billion people are infected with intestinal worms on a global scale “This has a negative impact on the physical and mental development of the child” stating that in 2013, these parasitic infections decreased from 34% in Haiti. He also stressed that the contamination sites were important elements to combat, which will allow to address the determinants to change the health situation in Haiti.
Conducted between October and November 2013, on 5,160 pupils in 203 schools in 10 departments of Haiti, several partners have supported the Ministry of Health in carrying out this survey include: the Ministry of Education, the National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA), PAHO/WHO, UNICEF.