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The positive impact of deworming in Kenyan schools: the evidence untangled

Health & Psychology News

A re-analysis of research into deworming interventions at Kenyan schools has confirmed some findings and disputed others. However, it does not take away from the programme’s effectiveness.

Deworming is currently being implemented as policy in many parts of the developing world. Recent estimates suggest that 280 million children, out of 870 million in need, are treated for worms, many via school-based and community-based programmes. This focus on deworming was triggered, in large part, by the findings of randomised controlled trials conducted by a team of economists, including myself, between 1998 and 2004.

That the core of these findings has been confirmed by epidemiologists underscores the importance of the approach adopted by policymakers like the World Health Organisation (WHO). It has recommended mass treatment once a year in regions where worm prevalence is 20% and twice a year in regions where worm it is 50%. Our recently published paper suggests that the WHO recommendations are justified on human rights, welfare economics and cost-effectiveness grounds.

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