What it takes to nurture growing bodies—not tiny predators.
By Dr. Laurence Slutsker, Director of Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases programs, PATH
This post originally appeared on the PATH Blog.
Growing children already have a big job to do: fight disease, grow long bones and strong muscles, and build the sharp minds they’ll need to be teachers, leaders, and possibly parents someday.
Yet worldwide, many little bodies are being held back by supporting parasitic worms.
Imagine a child with two plates to fill—and only enough food for one. Intestinal worms, or helminths, are small thieves that do big harm. They sap the blood and nutrients bodies need to stay strong. They leave children too tired to learn in school and play at home. And they open the door to other diseases.
At PATH, my team, like parents and teachers worldwide, know that’s unacceptable.
The good news? Helminths can be stopped. PATH is working with countries and partners worldwide to turn up the heat on these unwelcome guests: finding the best ways to deploy the worm-fighting tools we already have, advancing new tools, and tackling the root causes of infection so that children and communities can thrive.
The sanitation connection
Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs), especially roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm, are a fact of life for billions of people—almost all of them in communities with very few resources. The World Health Organization estimates that STH infections affect 1.5 billon people—nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Globally, an estimated 880 million children are in need of treatment. Continue reading