Deworm Blog

Thank you all that supported the outreach in 2012.

posted Jul 18, 2012, 11:04 AM by Deworm Ghana

Deworm Blog: 18th July 2012

It’s our last day in the field today.  The team is feeling a little down as we are now into a regular routine and it feels strange that it is going to come to an end today. But, given how tired everyone is, there is also a slight sense of relief that by the end of today we will have achieved all that we set out to do.

We start at Oparekrom Local Authority Primary School. There aren’t so many children and they are relatively well-behaved so we have a fairly easy start to the day. Following the introduction and Q&A session we measure, weigh and hand out medicine to 138 children.

We’re packed-up quickly and soon onto the next school. This school – Nsawam Presbyterian Primary – turns out to be much more of a challenge. There are a large number of children and they are very unruly, difficult to manage and won’t listen to instructions. Although we divide the large group into two for the introduction and Q&A session, Mark and Hayford find it a real struggle to get them to listen attentively. We eventually get through it, though. And then we’re onto measuring, weighing and administering medicine again.

The chaos of the introductory sessions is repeated whilst the children are queuing at the stations. In addition to their normal responsibilities Johanna, Emilia, Martina, Enoch, Bettina and Mark spend a considerable amount of time trying to get the right child in the right place at the right time. Hayford, Simon and Stephen patrol the school playground rounding-up strays and trying to get some order in place. It’s hard work but we eventually process 284 children. Given the amount of time it’s taken, it’s disappointing to learn that we’ve processed fewer than we had imagined.

So, that’s the end of our fieldwork for Deworm Ghana 2012. It’s been a difficult day. But, when we look back at the last 8 working days and the 18 schools we have visited, we can feel a real sense of achievement of having done a good and worthwhile job.

All that’s left now is for Johanna, Emilia and Mark to finish the data entry and then compile the 2012 report.

It’s been a very rewarding and successful project for all those that have taken part. And, hopefully, it will have been of lasting benefit for the almost 5000 children to whom we have administered de-worming medicine.

Day 7:Parallel presentations

posted Jul 17, 2012, 3:16 PM by Deworm Ghana

After the extremely long and tiring day yesterday for the volunteers, we have a much easier day ahead of us today. We will be at two smaller schools today in Kwaffokrom and Ntoaso – both not too far from Darmang.

Today, the volunteers are colour-coded: the boys wearing blue shirts and the girls wearing red. In addition to yesterday’s team members we are also joined by Amrita a volunteer from the U.S. who has been working on the VPWA microfinance project.

We start at Akuffokrom Local Authority Basic School. The children here are remarkably quiet and orderly – perhaps even a little apprehensive. It’s interesting how the schools here are all so different from one another. After the introduction to worms and how to stay healthy, Hayford has a real challenge on his hands to get the children to participate actively in the Q&A session. They need lots of encouragement, but after a slow start, Hayford eventually gets a dozen children to explain what they’ve learnt about worms. Each of them gets a pen or a pencil in reward for their contribution.

We process the 148 children really quickly and are complete and packed-up well before 10am. It’s been an easy day so far compared to yesterday.

We’re at Ntoaso S.D.A. Primary School just 15 minutes later and start the set-up. Only three parents are here and we would ideally like more to be present. One of the key aspects of the project is that we also educate the parents on how to keep their children clear of worms and the importance of giving them de-worming medicine at least once per year. So, we send off the children who live locally to fetch their parents. After 15 minutes we have a classroom full of 15 attentive parents listening to Hayford’s presentation.

In parallel, Mark does the introductory presentation to the children. Within a short while we are back to measuring, weighing and administering medicine. We process 187 children and are all done by 11:30 and back in Darmang by noon.

Bettina and Martina start the data entry process, Mark writes this blog and Emilia, Johanna and Amrita prepare our lunch. We should be finished with the data entry quite quickly and can take the afternoon and evening off which will be really nice.

Day 6: wow~ what a day!

posted Jul 17, 2012, 3:14 PM by Deworm Ghana

We’ve had a couple of personnel changes, so here’s an update on who’s in the team. From Ghana: Hayford, Simon, Stephen and Enoch. From Sweden: Johanna and Emilia. From Italy: Martina. From Austria: Bettina. From the UK: Mark.

We’ve got a tough day ahead. Three schools in Nsawam with a total of over 1000 children.

We do our usual introduction about worms followed by a Q&A session conducted by Hayford in front of hundreds of children at Reverend Father Weiggers Roman Catholic Primary School. We’re then quickly at work at our three stations with long queues of children at each. There are so many children that it takes us through until 12pm to get everyone processed. Somehow, two or three hours of work doesn’t sound like much but it’s hot and tiring all the same. We’ve given medication to 739 children, which is very satisfying.

We move over to two joint schools (Osaebo Local Authority Primary School and SakyiAgyakwa Primary ‘B’), just five minutes drive away from the first school, and so no time for lunch or a break. Just a quick swig from a bottle of water and a cookie or tangerine each as we drive.

We gather all the children together in the playground to listen to the talk on worms. But, this time it starts raining just as Mark starts his presentation. So, we quickly move the children into two classrooms and give two separate presentations and Q&A sessions in very cramped conditions.

We’re onto measuring, weighing and administering medicine soon after. We work quickly despite the large numbers. All finished and everyone exhausted by 14:30 having processed a further 359 children.

Martina, Johanna and Emilia sit on the ground at the edge of the school playground to take a rest and are quickly surrounded by children guessing their ages and reciting their names. This is one of the things that make this project fun.

Day 5: Playground and indoor assembly

posted Jul 13, 2012, 12:31 PM by Deworm Ghana

The team are back in red shirts again and this time also joined by Adele and Anna.  

Today, we’re visiting two Islamic schools in Adoagiyri – just a few minutes drive from Darmang. We’re all set up at Al-Rajhi Islamic Primary School by 09:30 and with all the schoolchildren gathered in front of us in the playground. This is another fairly small school, so the children are quickly gathered to listen to the introductory talk on worms and how to keep clean, safe and worm-free.

When it’s time for Hayford’s Q&A session, they are all super-enthusiastic to answer the questions and show how much they have remembered from the presentation. Today, any child answering a question gets a pen as a reward.

From three stations, we process the 165 children very quickly and are all done by 10:30. The second school – Al-Badar Islamic School – is so close it only takes a few short minutes to get there and we are already setting up by 10:45.

This time the school is somewhat different to all the other ones we’ve been to. Usually, we have the children assemble in the playground and the stations are set up in a shaded passageway at the side of the school. This time, though, we’re upstairs and inside in quite a small, enclosed school. It feels quite strange to be inside and the noise is deafening as the kids start to assemble in the main room. But, once they settle down, they are very attentive during the introductory session and answer all the questions keenly.

Given the space constraints, we decide to set up just two stations: one for boys and one for girls. As it’s a fairly small school, we’re finished by 11:45 having given medication to 166 children and back in Darmang just after noon for a bite of lunch and then starting the data entry process.

Day 4: In the wonderful valley village of Pokrom

posted Jul 13, 2012, 3:07 AM by Deworm Ghana

Following a long, tough day yesterday for the volunteers, we have a much easier day today – two smaller schools in Pokrom.

We arrive at Ahamahama L/A Primary School just after 9am and start with our usual set-up routine. Given the size of the school, we decide that two stations will be enough to process all the children: one station for girls, and one for boys.

Compared to the deafening noise of the two large schools in Nsawam yesterday, this is a much quieter affair. The children are very quiet and orderly and are quickly gathered together for the introductory session in the school playground.

We’re soon into full swing with measuring, weighing and administering medicine. The children are all present and accounted for and we don’t need to search for stragglers this time. Easy! We’re all done in much less than an hour. 75 children in total.

The second school (Dago L/A Primary School) is also smaller. Set in a rural area with beautiful hills in the background this is a really pleasant place to do some volunteer work. We’re set up quickly with three stations and back into our familiar routine. The children seem to really enjoy the Q&A session with Hayford and appear to be having a lot of fun. And – as with the children at all the other schools – they (143 children) happily take their de-worming medicine.

Yet again, we complete the work quickly. This time, the school has a little surprise for us: a cool box with an ice-cold malt drink for each volunteer. A nice refreshing end to the morning!

We’re back at the volunteer accommodation in Darmang by lunch and the data entry for today is quite light, so we should have an early finish today which is nice.

Day3 : And we're in blue

posted Jul 13, 2012, 3:02 AM by Deworm Ghana

It’s been red for the last two days, but today the team head out at 8am in crisp new blue VPWA shirts to our toughest challenge yet: two very large schools in Nsawam (Nsawam Methodist and Nana Osae Djan Primary) with a combined total of roughly 1050 schoolchildren.

Now that we’re into our third day of the project, we’re starting to get into a slick routine with each of us having defined roles.

The whole team sets up three stations at the first school: table and chair for a teacher to sit and record the details of each child plus scales and a tape measure. And, we hang up a “De-worm Ghana 2012” banner for all to see.

Once all the schoolchildren are gathered in the playground, Mark explains to them about the dangers of worms and how to stay safe. Hayford then steps up to provide an animated and entertaining Q&A session with small prizes (fancy pencils) to each child that answers a question correctly.

We’re very soon into the thick of the action with Kathy, Emilia and Johanna giving out medicine and reward stickers and Eric, Enoch and Mark weighing and measuring each child. Hayford, Simon and Stephen coordinate the activities, organize the queuing and ensure that all the children attend one of the stations.

After 90 minutes of frenzied activity, we’re onto the second school and a repeat process of set-up, introduction, Q&A, weighing, measuring and administering medication.

We’re all done by 1:30pm and completely exhausted.

Kathy heads home to California after a successful and valuable contribution to the project whilst Emilia, Johanna and Mark work into the evening entering all of today’s data into the computer for analysis.

Day 2, ''Like a well-oiled machine''

posted Jul 11, 2012, 12:47 PM by Deworm Ghana   [ updated Jul 11, 2012, 12:48 PM ]

Our outings today included 2 villages in the municipality, the first being Obodan where we visited Obodan Presbyterian school.  This location was not as far as Aburi but in the same direction, so the scenery was familiar as 8 volunteers made the trip through the countryside.  At this school, there were  168 children in attendance all in their matching uniforms of blue with white trim.  The children were neat and tidy and seemed excited to learn about worms!

Mark again gave an introduction to the children, but in this case there was a Q and A session conducted by Mr. Siaw which confirmed that the children had learned the basics.  Many correctly answered questions about prevention (wearing shoes, hand washing, bathing) and so on.  They received a pen if they gave a correct answer, which occurred in nearly every case and proved their attentiveness. 

Again the children lined up as before, by gender and classroom.  Their wonderful teachers valiantly recorded much important information and the children gamely consumed the worm medication.  All went smoothly and we were finished in record time!

Our next stop was Nsaba Presbyterian Primary School in Pokrom-Nsaba.  This was just a short drive back towards Darmang from the first.   Like a well-oiled machine, the children lined up by gender and grade and the process went extremely smoothly.   A total of 294 students were in attendance and they were all pleasant and friendly to a fault!  The teachers and staff too were helpful and supportive.

Yet another successful day….tomorrow will be a big day as we have 2 large schools in Nsawam which are prepared to receive us.

By Kathy Brady

2012 Deworm medical outreach kick start successfully

posted Jul 11, 2012, 12:43 PM by Deworm Ghana

Our first outing was to P.W.C.E. Demonstration Primary school in the section of Aburi, in the area of Akuapim South, Ghana.  After a day of orientation and planning, there were 8 excited volunteers of many different nationalities including the UK, US, Ghana, and Sweden.  Hayford Siaw led the way as we drove from the VPWA center in Darmang to Aburi through beautiful agrarian regions and up to a small peak where the weather was pleasantly cool with a light mist.

The children received us enthusiastically as we hung our “Deworm Ghana” banner and gathered the 222 primary students in one area of the school grounds and the parents in attendance in another area.  Mark from the UK gave a rousing introduction to the students on what parasitic worms do to our bodies, and how to prevent them.  The methods he taught the children included handwashing and avoiding going barefoot in the soil.  The children were great listeners and following this introduction, they lined up to receive the chewable tablets which were being given by the volunteers to cure the students of soil transmitted helminths (STH).   Meanwhile, Mr. Siaw discussed the importance of treating their children in the future for these worms on a regular basis.  He also stressed the preventive measures and fielded questions.

As a new part of the initiative this year, weight and height were recorded for future calculation of body mass index.  VPWA feels this data will be important in assessing the overall health and well-being of the children served by the program.

The teachers were an important part of the process, dutifully recording each child’s name, gender, and the numerical values.   Volunteers including Kathy from the US, Amelia and Johanna from Sweden, Mark and locals such as Simon, Eric, and Stephen (Educational Health Director for the Municipality) and of course Hayford conducted measurements and treatment management. The kids then stepped over to a VPWA volunteer to receive a tablet of Albendazole, a broad spectrum treatment for STH.  The tablets were chewable and we were told they tasted sweet!  Each child drank some water and then received a sticker for their cooperation. 

Our next stop was also in Aburi, at Aburi  Methodist Primary.  There the children also eagerly received the information and willingly came forward for their weight, height, and medication.  All in all a very successful day!

Deworm 2011 successfully comes to an end

posted Jul 21, 2011, 12:40 PM by Deworm Ghana

Today, the VPWA Dewom Ghana team concluded its mission to administer albendazole deworming medication to as many students as possible throughout the Akuapim South Municipal District of Ghana. The team visited two schools on the final day of the program, Tieku L/A Primary School and Seventh Day Adventist School, both located in Nsawam.


At Tieku L/A Primary School, 169 female students age 6 to 15 and 144 male students age 5 to 16 participated in the deworming exercise. In total, 313 students were dewormed at the school. Then, at Seventh Day Adventist School, 88 female students age 7 to 15 and 81 male students age 6 to 17 were dewormed. In total, 169 students at Seventh Day Adventist School were dewormed, brining the day’s total number of dewormed students to 482.


In conclusion, the VPWA Deworm Ghana Program was a huge success, resulting in 3900 total student beneficiaries at 16 different area schools. 51% of these students (2008) were female, and 49% (1892) were male; all students ranged in age from 5 to 18 years of age.


VPWA had a great time conducting the program and is eager to expand upon the work next year. We thank everyone who participated in Deworm Ghana and contributed to its great success!

Over 3000 children benefits from VPWA Deworm Ghana program so far.

posted Jul 19, 2011, 3:12 PM by Deworm Ghana

Today was a record breaking day for the Deworm Ghana Project, as the VPWA volunteers administered medication to 918 students! As a result, the Deworm Ghana Project has succeeded in reaching an important milestone of deworming over 3000 children! In fact, 3047 students have taken part in Deworm Ghana.


Again, VPWA visited three different schools to conduct education in the prevention of worms as well as to administer albendazole to treat such worms. First, VPWA visited Duayeden L/C Primary School in the village of Duayeden. At the school, the volunteers were greeted warmly by both the children and the teachers, who also helped us stress the importance of preventing worm infections by ALWAYS wearing shoes when outside, NEVER eating fruits or vegetables without first washing them, ALWAYS washing hands using soap and water prior to eating, and finally, NEVER drinking water that has not been treated. The VPWA team welcomed such enthusiastic support from the teachers at Duayeden L/C Primary School – these students are lucky to have such great teachers! After administering medication to 34 girls age 6 to 15 and 29 boys age 5 to 15, the team had to move onto the next school.


Next, in the village of Anoff, VPWA visited students at Anoff L/A KG/Primary School. At this school, 127 female students age 5 to 15 and 125 male students age 5 to 16 participated in the deworming exercise. In total, 252 students at Anoff L/A KG/Primary School were dewormed by VPWA. In addition, a large group of parents attended the program, also receiving health education regarding the importance of maintaining good hygiene to prevent future worm infections as well as administering deworming medication every six months to treat any infections that may occur.


Finally, VPWA returned to the town of Adoagyiri to deworm nearly 600 students at Adoagyiri R/C Catholic Primary School. Specifically, VPWA administerd deworming medication to a total of 593 students. 381 of the students were girls, ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old. 212 of the students were boys, ranging in age from 6 to 18 years old.


Two more days remain in VPWA’s special medical outreach efforts. Let’s hope these two days are just as successful as those that have come before!
By Nicole Bolton - VPWA 2011 Deworm Ghana Volunteer

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