Chau Cuica was the name given by the regional government of Loreto in Peru for its school-based deworming program which was initiated in 2012 with a donation of mebendazole from an international non-governmental organization. Embedded in the program from the start was a sentinel surveillance component which consisted of 16 sentinel schools representing Loreto's seven provinces. Coverage rates varied between 35% and 61% over the first two years of the program (and seven deworming cycles). Initial prevalences of soil-transmitted helminth infections were high, with 82.4% of schoolchildren having at least one infection and prevalences of both Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiuraTrichuris trichiura infections both exceeding 60%. After two years, these prevalences had dropped to 56% for any STH infection, 38% for A. lumbricoides and 34% for T. trichiura. Importantly, the proportions of children with moderate and heavy infections also dropped. Both the regional Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education were jointly charged to implement this deworming program. The program's costs were estimated to be approximately 22 cents (USD) per child per deworming cycle. The responsibility for the surveillance component was initially undertaken by research partners from a local NGO and a Canadian university, which transferred gradually over the course of the deworming program to being entirely the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. This regional deworming program may serve as a model for other jurisdictions that are planning a school-based deworming program with an integrated surveillance component to monitor impact.
- School-age children
- Soil-transmitted helminth infections