Health TrendsMaternal and Child Health

Treating children for worms yields long-term benefits, says new study

Children who receive sustained treatment against common parasitic infections grow up to achieve a higher standard of living, with long-lasting health and economic benefits extending to their communities, according to new findings from a research team.

The pioneering study, focused on Kenya and covering 20 years, found that children who receive a few extra years of deworming treatment — costing as little as 50 cents a year — eventually have better jobs and higher incomes than those who got less treatment.

According to the WHO about 1.5 billion people — roughly 20% of the global population — are infected with the parasitic worms such as hookworm, roundworm and whipworm, which infect the intestines, and schistosomiasis, which infects the blood vessels.

The researchers found that students who received two or three years of extra treatment in the early years of the program reported significant benefits as mature adults:

  • Hourly earnings were higher by 13%.
  • Consumer spending was 14% higher.
  • Work hours in non-agricultural jobs, which usually pay more, were 9% higher.

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