In 1998 and 1999, public health workers in Kenya set out to treat children in Kenyan schools for common intestinal parasites, including hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and schistosomiasis. The parasites, prevalent in poor areas, were affecting kids’ nutrition and health. The hope was that mass treatment programs might mean a generation of kids could grow up without negative effects from worm infestations.
In the years since, deworming campaigns have become a favorite initiative of national governments as well as donors looking to give effectively. Some research suggests that such campaigns may be some of the most important public health interventions in the world.