Azerbaijan: UN helps treat thousands of children for parasites, worms

22 December 2006 –

Some 16,000 Azerbaijani children from 6 to 11 years old are being treated for intestinal parasites and worms that can cause a wide range of problems, including reduced growth rate, learning problems and illnesses such as malnutrition, dysentery and anaemia, under a United Nations-backed campaign now underway.

“De-worming children will not only improve their general health, but it will also enable them to study better at school,” UN World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director Lynne Miller said.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Health has launched the de-worming operation with the support of WFP and the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation, targeting the country’s most impoverished children, many of them internally displaced as a result of the armed conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The worms can be eradicated with only one 500-milligramme tablet of Mebendazol which has no side effects.

The Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation provided 32,000 tablets for this year’s campaign. It was founded in 1991 by renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya, an acclaimed soprano.

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