Caring Makes a Difference
Fernanda of Jinotepe, Nicaragua, knows what it's like to be sickened by worms. “I feel really tired. My stomach aches, and I don't want to eat,” says Fernanda. “Sometimes I vomit.”
She is a child too sick to go to school and worse; infection with soil-transmitted helminthiasis, or STH, caused by roundworms, whipworms and hookworms, can lead to malnutrition and anemia, stunt growth and impair cognitive development. More than 800 million school-age children around the world are at risk.
But Fernanda also knows what it's like to be without worms. When Fernanda and her younger brother, Luis, are worm-free, their mother, Grissell, laughs, “They're active, they eat a lot, they don't stop!”
Fernanda's school benefits from Children Without Worms (CWW), a program that provides mebendazole, a deworming medication, donated by Johnson & Johnson. In partnership with the Task Force for Global Health, Johnson & Johnson created CWW in 2006 as the first program to focus solely on the global treatment and prevention of STH. CWW partners with governments and organizations in eight countries to stop reinfection through hygiene education and access to improved sanitation and clean water.
Fernanda reminds her mother to chlorinate the water and runs after her brother to scrub his hands with soap. When Luis drops his mango, Fernanda washes it before he takes another bite. “Fernanda's physically healthier, and she's more knowledgeable, so she doesn't reinfect herself,” says Grissell.