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Uganda: ICRC treats children for parasites

31-01-2007 News Release 07/01

Kampala (ICRC) – Some 55,500 children are being treated by the ICRC against intestinal parasites in a four-week campaign in northern Uganda.

The children, who are living in 12 camps for internally displaced people in Kitgum and Pader districts, are heavily exposed to parasites owing to the camps'poor hygienic conditions.

Children between one and 14 years – an age group particularly vulnerable to worms – are receiving a single oral dose of Albendazole, a medicine effective against intestinal worm infestation.

“Given the living conditions of the children in the camps, this treatment against intestinal parasites will counter the consequences of chronic worm infection such as anaemia, stunted growth, poor intellectual development and damage to vital organs " , said Dr Luca Falqui, the ICRC's medical coordinator in the area. " Periodic targeted treatment such as this can significantly improve the children's health by reducing the burden of disease. It can lead to a 10% gain in weight. "

The ICRC carries out campaigns of treatment against intestinal parasites twice a year in conjunction with Uganda's district health services. Before each campaign, it makes the population aware of the benefits of the treatment and trains both camp leaders and community health workers in techniques to help ICRC staff carry the operation out. The current campaign will conclude on 16 February.

The ICRC is providing health care, water, sanitation and supplies for some 770,000 people in 81 camps for displaced people in the Gulu, Amuru, Pader, Kitgum and Oyam districts. The organization resumed its activities in northern Uganda in 2004 and currently has over 200 staff in the country.

For more information, please contact:
  Graziella Leite Piccolo, ICRC Kampala, tel. +256 772 221 994 or +256 41 341 605/6
  Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 2271 or +41 79 217 3217