Overcoming delivery challenges for national deworming in South Korea
The benefits of deworming, which is available at a low cost, are well documented. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development lists treatment of neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worm infection, among its health sector targets. However, deworming remains a difficult challenge in many developing countries. This case study investigates how collaboration between the Korean Association for Parasite Eradication, a small coalition of dedicated parasitologists and health professionals from the Republic of Korea, and the Korean government overcame numerous delivery challenges to sustain a nationwide deworming campaign for two decades, after which the World Health Organization declared the country essentially worm-free in 1997. Key delivery challenges included the pervasive public perception that intestinal worm infections are a fact of life one simply has to live with. Such perceptions aggravated difficulties in coordinating among agencies and securing continued funding, both crucial tasks for a sustained national deworming operation. Important factors in the operation’s success were effective public awareness campaigns and the use of systematic data gathered in the earlier phase of the operation to persuade the skeptical public and decision makers.
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