Microsoft word - ecosoc innovations fair concept paper - children without worms - may 2009.docx

Johnson & Johnson
Name of the project:
Children Without Worms: Partnership for Treating and Preventing Intestinal Worms
Project description (methodology, techniques and strategies used)
Soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) is a disease of poverty. It is one of the neglected tropical diseases affecting
the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. Infected and at-risk populations lack access to health
education, sanitary latrines, and potable water and are, therefore, continuously exposed to the worms and eggs in
their environment. The effects of STH are especially harmful for children, who endure the highest rates of
infection. These children suffer from diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal swelling, and pain. Left untreated, STH may
lead to impaired cognitive development, reduced school attendance and performance, and ultimately, decreased
productivity as adults – all of which perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
Transmission of STH can be controlled through regular treatment with mebendazole and
prevention with hygiene education and increased access to sanitary latrines and potable water.

Up to 1.2 billion people, about 20% of the world’s population are infected or at risk.
Children are estimated to represent about one-third (400 million) of the global STH burden.
The highest rates of infection are often in children between the ages of five and 15.
Fewer than 20% of the at-risk school-age population was reached with deworming treatment in
2007 – far short of the World Health Assembly’s target to regularly treat 75% of at-risk children by

Children Without Worms is a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and the Task Force for Global Health. Currently entering its third year, the program supports global efforts to reduce the burden of STH in children who are most severely infected or at high-risk of infection and have limited access to safe and effective treatment. Children Without Worms works with national STH control programs in the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nicaragua, Uganda, and Zambia. The strategic approach of Children Without Worms is to leverage the donation of mebendazole from Johnson & Johnson to advocate for comprehensive and sustainable control of STH. Specifically, Children Without Worms: 1. Donates mebendazole to national STH control programs that combine prevention (i.e., hygiene education and increased access to potable water and sanitary latrines) with regular mass deworming treatment. 2. Advocates for resources to promote hygiene education and access to sanitary latrines and potable water. 3. Partners with organizations already working in health education and water and sanitation sectors to ensure that donated mebendazole is distributed in an environment that maximizes impact. The strategic approach builds on strength of partners, promotes sustainability, and enhances collaboration and opportunities for reducing costs and utilizing financial and technical resources effectively. Implementation methodologies
Schools provide the mechanism used to implement both STH treatment and prevention activities. The schools
provide infrastructure to treat both enrolled and non-enrolled school-age children with mebendazole and the
venue for children to learn the importance of washing their hands and using latrines. In collaboration with the
Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Children Without Worms identifies in-country, non-governmental
organizations to institute hygiene education in regular curricula and installation and maintenance of water and
sanitation facilities.
Innovative components of this program
Children Without Worms is more than just a drug donation and treatment program. Without addressing the root
causes of the disease, regular mass treatments will not break the endless cycle of transmission and re-infection.
Therefore, we target a small number of countries that have high burden of disease AND have political will to
reduce the burden of disease to ensure long-term impact. This approach allows the program to systematically
build public-private partnerships that can ultimately eliminate STH as a public health problem in the targeted
communities. Once this goal is achieved, mass treatments can be halted, and the available drugs can be donated
to other communities with greater need. Children Without Worms is confident that this approach is the only
sustainable means of addressing a massive global health problem where there is a limited supply of medicines.
Evidence of results/impact
Examples of synergies as a result of our innovative approach:
1. Bangladesh – The donation of mebendazole is used to treat 6.5 million at-risk school-age children in 13 districts. Since receiving its first donation of mebendazole from Children Without Worms, the government of Bangladesh has expanded its treatment-focused national policy for control STH to include hygiene education and access to latrines in schools. 2. Cameroon – Mebendazole is donated to treat all 4 million school-age children in Cameroon. The World Wildlife Fund will build on the donation of mebendazole to raise awareness of STH in communities and mobilize resources for construction of latrines in their targeted communities. With the inclusion of hygiene education and water and sanitation facilities, the number of beneficiaries increases three-fold. 3. Cambodia – All 2.75 million school-age children are treated with donated mebendazole. To prevent disease, Children Without Worms is partnering with the Ministry of Education and Helen Keller International to develop a school curriculum that includes hygiene education. Hygiene education is necessary to prevent trachoma and diarrheal diseases as well as STH. 4. Zambia – The donation of mebendazole is used to treat 1 million school-age children in three provinces with the highest burden of disease. The Izumi Foundation provided a grant to Children Without Worms to develop training and information, education, and communication (IEC) materials. The materials were developed by the government to be used by teachers and NGOs to carry out health education activities targeting all 3.5 million school-age children in the country. Costs associated with project
Johnson & Johnson donates the deworming medicine, mebendazole, to the recipient countries. Each country
program is separately developed, managed, and funded. Resource requirements vary depending on the burden
of disease and state of development of school-based hygiene education curricula and existing access to potable
water and improved sanitation infrastructures.
Contact Information
Kim Koporc, Senior Associate Director, Children Without Worms,, +1-404-687-5625.


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