June 04,2013

Building on Strong Foundations: CWW’s First Eight Years, and the Way Forward

Photo: Children Without Worms envisions the world’s children free of intestinal worms so they can grow, play, learn and enrich their communities.

Children Without Worms (CWW) has supported national Ministries of Health and Ministries of Education in implementing comprehensive programs to control soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH). Eight years later, we are celebrating progress made with our partners and resolving to build on these accomplishments to support the achievement of long-term global STH control. 

When Children Without Worms (CWW) was formed in 2006, our primary focus was the allocation and management of Vermox® (mebendazole) donated by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The first donations of Vermox were approved forBangladesh, Cameroon, Uganda, and Zambia. Cameroon was the first to distribute donated Vermox in 2007. Four additional countries were added in 2008: Cambodia, Cape Verde, Lao PDR, and Nicaragua. Since the first donations, CWW has continued to support these countries through donations and technical support.

CWW has worked with country programs at different stages in the development of STH control programs. Through regionaltechnical assistance workshops, we have worked with multiple countries to build capacity for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating STH control efforts; these workshops have also been an opportunity for countries to share lessons learned and explore new strategies. We’ve worked to support countries in the initial planning phases of their deworming programs; with funds from the Izumi Foundation, we worked with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to implement a baseline survey in Bolivia. CWW has supported rigorous monitoring of well-established STH control programs, such as in Cambodia and Bangladesh, where we worked with the Ministries of Health to implement treatment coverage validation surveys to improve results of future deworming campaigns. In Cape Verde, CWW worked with the Ministries of Health and Education to implement a follow-up survey to assess STH prevalence and intensity rates after four years of deworming; we’ll soon be sharing these results with the wider STH community.

From the very beginning, CWW advocated for comprehensive control of STH to break the cycle of transmission in addition to treatments through mass drug administration. We developed the WASHED (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Education and Deworming) Framework, which emphasizes the importance of combining deworming with WASH activities. In Cameroon, CWW worked with the World Wildlife Fund to support the implementation of the WASHED Framework in the Lobéké area. In Cambodia, we partnered with the Helen Keller International and the Ministries of Health and Education to develop a national school curriculum to teach children how to prevent worm infections. In Nicaragua, with the support of the Izumi Foundation, CWW supported the national STH control program to train teachers to provide important lessons about STH prevention in schools.

CWW has also recognized the critical role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the global STH control effort. We have quantified the contributions of NGOs to the global deworming effort through the Global NGO Deworming Inventory and established the STH/Schistosomiasis Coordination Group as part of the NTD NGDO Network, which includes NGOs from the NTD, WASH, and school health sectors.

CWW has made considerable progress over the past eight years. Still, we know that we can do even more in the coming years by building up from the strong foundations that have been laid.  The most important tool for achieving the goals of the STH control effort is knowledge; promoting the enhancement and the sharing and utilization of that knowledge will be one of CWW’s guiding principles as the program evolves in the coming years. As always, CWW will continue to advocate for the WASHED framework and seek new ways to improve collaboration and coordination with the WASH sector.

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