During the month of September, Dubai Cares announced its partnership with Thrive Networks to roll out a school-based deworming program across four rural provinces in Vietnam. The program aims to reduce the incidence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) amongst students in Vietnam over a period of three years benefiting 905,000 children across 2,600 schools in the country.
NTDs such as Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH), more commonly known as intestinal worms, have long been known to limit physical and mental growth in children, affecting participation and productivity in schools. The World Health Organization (WHO) - the United Nations public health arm -has called for greater efforts to control STH as a key priority as part of its larger neglected tropical disease (NTD) agenda.
Dubai Cares will work with Thrive Networks on a program that combines sanitation and hygiene into deworming activities with the ultimate goal of delaying reinfection and increasing sustainability. Along with treating the children, the program will also train teachers and community health workers to administer the medicine to their students at school, thereby ensuring a cost-effective and scalable approach.
Dubai Cares’ program launch in Vietnam is in line with the 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, which created a global alliance led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to reduce the global burden of NTDs. Targeting 10 diseases, the partnership has ramped up efforts over the past two years to reach the goals of the World Health Organization to control or eliminate these diseases by the end of this decade. The diseases present a serious threat to children’s futures by hampering their educational opportunities. Through the alliance and the new program, Dubai Cares aims to strike at the heart of the issue by educating children on how to keep the diseases at bay and thus ensure a healthy and engaged student body.