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Shoes Play Vital Role In Protecting Children’s Health, Development

“As we have seen in our work in Haiti and around the world, shoes are a first level of defense when it comes to good health, and are a great complement to the Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control program IMA World Health implements in Haiti,” Rick Santos, president and CEO of IMA World Health, writes in the Huffington Post Blog, commemorating One Day Without Shoes, observed on Tuesday. “In addition to preventing cuts and injuries that can become infected, shoes can help prevent the spread of hookworm — which affects an estimated 740 million people globally according to a World Health Organization estimate — and other soil-transmitted diseases that can enter through the feet,” he notes, adding, “Shoes are especially helpful when combined with other programs designed to keep children and families healthy.”

“To successfully combat and prevent these diseases, IMA has been working with the Haitian government and other partners since 2007 to conduct mass drug administration (MDA) with two safe and effective drugs, DEC and Albendazole,” Santos writes. He continues, “In 2011 we were able to add shoes to our distributions, and we have seen the combination of the disease-fighting drugs and new shoes packing a one-two punch against NTDs for children in Haiti.” He concludes, “As we witness daily in our work, shoes play a vital role in protecting children’s health and development” (4/10).