The Pakistan Deworming Initiative (PDI) was launched in 2018 based on the results from a nationwide Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH) prevalence Survey conducted between 2016-2017 that showed that approximately 17 million school-aged children in 45 districts across Pakistan are at-risk of intestinal worm infections, and require annual treatment.
The PDI is a multi-sectoral program led by the Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Ministry Federal Education & Professional Trainings, and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination in collaboration with provincial health, education, and planning & development departments. IRD Pakistan and Evidence Action are providing technical assistance to the government.
abc STH prevalence = or over 20%
abc STH prevalence under 20%
Between 2019-2022 over 23 million safe and free-of-cost deworming treatments have been delivered across Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Punjab, using schools as the primary delivery platform along with communities in some regions. PDI’s focus is to scale-up treatments to reach all at-risk school-aged children across seven provinces and territories identified in the Soil Transmitted Helminths Baseline Survey.
Mission and Goals
PDI’s mission is to ensure that children in at-risk areas of Pakistan have improved health, increased access to education and improved livelihoods potential.
To realize this mission, PDI is focused on the following key goals, which are aligned with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2030 roadmap for neglected tropical diseases:
PDI is based on rigorous research, including research by Nobel Laureate Michael Kremer, which shows that mass deworming leads to significant improvements in nutrition, cognition, school participation, and future earnings at an average cost of less than 80 PKR ($0.50) per child per treatment.
PDI leverages the existing school infrastructure and network of trusted teachers across regions to provide safe and free deworming treatment to school-aged children. In addition, through effective community mobilization activities, out-of-school children can also be encouraged to come to the nearest schools to receive deworming treatment. In certain cases, additional delivery platforms, such as community health workers are also leveraged to deliver treatments to hard to reach children.
The implementation of PDI across all regions broadly consists of five key components based on global best practices for deworming programs.