​​​Over 600 million school-age children are infected with parasitic worms. School-age children typically have the highest burden of worm infection of any age group with an estimated 400 million children worldwide suffering from soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis. ​Worm infections are characterised by limited access to safe water, open defecation, faeces used on the land and eating with unwashed hands. 

Worm Impact On Children

Chronic worm infections are widespread among children, in fact as they are so common they are often not seen as a threat but just as a symptom of childhood, yet they have devastating impacts. Children infected with worms fail to attend school on a regular basis and those who do attend school are often unable to concentrate and learn due in large part to tired or sickness. Worm infections can cause anaemia and malnutrition and see that children don't have the energy they would otherwise. 

Why Deworm? 

School-based dewormingis universally recognized as a safe, simple and cost-effective solution. At a cost of less than 50 US cents per child per year - the benefits of school-based deworming are both immediate and enduring.

Regular treatment can reduce school absenteeism by 25%. Deworming can also increase adult earnings by over 20%; as a consequence of greater earnings and workforce participation when these children grow to be adults.

With more schools than clinics, and more teachers than health workers, the existing and extensive education infrastructure provides the most efficient way to reach the highest number of school-age children. With the support from the local health system, teachers can administer treatment to large numbers of school-age children with minimal training.

School-based deworming has been identified by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT as one of the most cost-effective ways to increase school participation of any approach rigorously tested. A group of Nobel Laureates and other economists at the Copenhagen Consensus Center have also identified school-based deworming as one of the most efficient and cost-effective solutions to the global challenges facing us today.

School-based deworming is now recognized as a significant contributor to achieving Education For All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals. As a result, Ministries of Education, United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and other development partners have made school-based deworming an education policy priority.

Deworming documents and resource centre:

Other Key Resources:​

On the 30th January 2012, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Coalition against NTDs held a meeting on combating the diseases by 2020. Watch the full clip below where panel members, including Bill Gates and Dr Chan from  WHO discuss how elimination of the NTDs can be furthered by 2020. ​



Deworm the World: a Call to Action explains in more depth how parasitic infections are easily spread in the global south, and consequently the threats that infection poses to child learning and development. A simple and cost effective solution is also advocated in the film.  


In the Bihar state of India 18 million children strive to go to school and half of these are infected with intestinal worms. The film 'Making History in India' explains how an integrated approach taken to deworming in the region, was a huge success, and how this can be used as an example of good practice in deworming implementation.