Religious group nixes DOH deworming drug (Leaves kids’ health in God’s hands ) PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 11:55

By DOMINIC I. SANCHEZ

A religious group in the city has refused to allow their children to receive the free Albendazole deworming drug, allegedly preferring to leave their children’s health in “God’s hands”.

“Yes, there is a religious group in Zamboanga City who does not let their children take the drug,” confirmed Dr. Rolando Bucoy, Medical Officer IV of the Department of Health (DOH), without naming names, which apparently has hundreds of followers here.

It can be recalled that many parents in the city as well as in other areas in region 9 were hesitant to let their children take the state-prescribed albendazole after false information spread regarding the integrity of the drug. To correct the misinformation, the DOH embarked on an intense information dissemination campaign, especially in the rural areas.

“We have worked with the schools to correct the wrong information,” said Dr. Bucoy. The DOH maintains that the drug is very safe and recognized by the World Health Organization. Adverse effects such as stomachaches are common to children who ingest the drug without having a meal at least 2 hours before medication, or to children who already have worm infestations.

“Government-run hospitals are giving free treatment to those who exhibit the adverse effects,” Dr. Bucoy added.

The DOH has extended the deworming from one day in all public schools to one month, throughout July. “We cannot do this in one day only,” Dr. Bucoy said, citing the lack of manpower to closely monitor reactions to the drug.

He expresses optimism that more children this time will take the drug, as more and more parents were given clarification during information-dissemination campaigns. “They have realized how the drug benefits the children to enable them to have a healthy growth,” he said.

Meanwhile, other groups including indigenous peoples were initially hesitant to have their children dewormed. “But once we talked with them and explained the benefits of the drugs as well as correct the misinformation, they agreed,” Dr. Bucoy shared. The free deworming in public schools takes place every January and July. (DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)