PLOS Viewpoint Pieces Argue Mass Deworming Cost-Effective Investment In Children’s Health

The following PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases viewpoint pieces discuss recent findings on the potential impacts of mass treatment for intestinal worms among children in endemic areas.

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Cochrane Reviews on Deworming and the Right to a Healthy, Worm-Free Life
Nilanthi de Silva of the Department of Parasitology at the University of Kelaniya and colleagues discuss the Cochrane Library’s recently published review by Taylor-Robinson et al. on deworming drugs, disagreeing with the review’s methodology and conclusion that mass drug administration does not benefit nutritional status, school performance, or other indicators. “…In questioning the value of mass deworming by using inappropriate methodology, Taylor-Robinson et al. jeopardize funding for deworming programs that will benefit hundreds of millions of children in developing countries” (10/22).

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: The Case for Mass Treatment of Intestinal Helminths in Endemic Areas
Joan Hamory Hicks and Edward Miguel, both at the University of California Berkeley, and Michael Kremer of Harvard University, highlight two articles published earlier this year in the International Journal of Epidemiology (1, 2). “[W]e discuss the content and relevance of these articles to the policy debate, and review the broader research literature on the educational and economic impacts of deworming. We conclude that existing evidence still indicates that mass deworming is a cost-effective health investment for governments in low-income countries where worm infections are widespread” (10/22).