The Right to Education (RTE) Act, besides giving children between six and 14 years access to free and compulsory education, also helps their health as voluntary groups often target schools for their programmes, experts said on Thursday. Deworm the World (DTW), a voluntary organization giving deworming medicine against intestinal parasites to children between 6 to 14 years, will soon be covering the capital's government schools and slums. “After a year-long successful work in seven districts of Andhra Pradesh since 2009, we will now target Bihar and Delhi where our prevalence studies have been going on for quite some time,” DTW's executive director Lesley Drake told the sources on her visit to India. “We realized how effective health plans can be when they are pitched in with educational schemes. RTE is an important catalyst for our policy in India,” added Drake. The NGO, in its massive action plan, stated that the programme in Bihar will be rolled out in over 67,000 schools of its 38 districts from February to April. “Deworming is often ignored in developing nations because it does not affect the mortality rate. The need is to realize its impact on the cognitive growth of the child, his education, mental and physical abilities,” explained Drake. The deworming schemes will also rope in the state governments and additional technical support from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). “In Delhi, our studies across slums and schools are underway, and a school-based deworming programme will be launched in identified at-risk areas later this year,” said Prerna Makkar, regional director of DTW's south Asia wing. “Adequate sanitation, hygienic living conditions, and safe drinking water are other key approaches to the deworming plan,” added Makkar.
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