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DOH assures parents deworming tablets safe for kids

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday appealed to parents to give their deworming tablets a chance and not be swayed by wrong information circulating on social media about its alleged ill effects to children.

"We appeal to the parents and guardians not to believe in wrong information circulated in social media and in the community," Health Sec. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said at a press briefing. "Let us verify our facts by consulting the nearest health facility regarding deworming."

At the launch of the National Deworming Month, Ubial traced misgivings to the program to the incident in the Zamboanga Peninsula in 2015 where hundreds of students were hospitalized after a mass deworming program.

Ubial said news about students rushed to the hospital for abdominal pains unrelated to the deworming caused some apprehension among children and adults.

Ubial believes the "psychological suggestion" of the incident produced psychosomatic symptoms, or symptoms produced by stress from reading the post in children, leading to a mass incident attributed to expired deworming tablets.

"When that incident was investigated in Zamboanga, there were some reports of abdominal pain, but it was not related to the intake of the deworming," she said. "But because of the news and spread of the news quickly on social media, it created a lot of panic and fear among all the children that was already given the deworming."

"They reported and therefore it also increased the number of side-effects in that particular area," she added. "We hope that this kind of event will not happen again."

World Health Organization country representative Dr. Gundo Weiler encouraged parents to "fully support this campaign, make sure that your children participate in the campaign, and take the medication that is provided" so they can "put more chances for healthy development."

The DOH aims to deworm 19 million public school students and 23 million pre-school and out of school youths this month. —KBK, GMA News