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Posts Tagged ‘using mebendazole chewable tablets to treat worms in Haiti’

By P.J. Pitts

It’s funny how we sometimes end up exactly where we’re supposed to be, even if we don’t know we’re supposed to be there.  The other day while sitting in the logistics office, waiting for my caffeine to set in, and started talking to a couple of University of

Chief Pharmacy Officer for Bernard Mevs Project Medishare P.J. Pitts went to a nearby ophanage to "deworm" the children there. Malnutrition and worms are the most problematic health issues for children in Haiti. Photo by P.J. Pitts.

Miami students about their project.  They were here field testing a very interesting “tele-medicine” software developed by MIT.  Their plan was to head out to New Life Children’s Home to shoot some video footage and talk with Miriam, the Missions Director, about how the software might be useful in Haiti.  Janet (a teacher from Oregon whose “alter ego” is a warehouse pixie in Haiti) had brought a bunch of school supplies to donate, so was heading out with them.  One of the UM students, Sean, seemed a little disappointed that they weren’t able to do more for the orphanage they’d been working with, so I suggested we “de-worm” all of the kids.

Miriam estimates that approximately 90 percent of the children in the tent cities have some sort of intestinal worm.  The living conditions are filthy, with many people sleeping on the dirt, and there is really no way to have anything be “sanitary”.  When a worm infestation isn’t treated, the worms migrate out of the intestines and into other areas. Seeing a kid cough up worms that are 6-inches long is one of those things you never forget.  And in a country where so many of the children are already malnourished, parasitic worms are even more deadly.  Many organizations and school will periodically de-worm all of the children as a precaution.  Anti-helmintics (de-worming medicine) are worth their weight in gold in Haiti, and I’d just been gifted a few thousand mebendazole chewable tablets, and playing with orphans is always a fun way to spend half a day.

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