I recently learned that it’s common practice for each child to be treated for worms upon moving into an orphanage and then all of the children are retreated every 3 months. Think about it. Who wants to collect a stool sample from every child in the place? Treatment is simple and involves taking one dose of medication by mouth. Saturday I participated in an outreach to an orphanage called Save Them Young near Tema where about 45 children of various ages live. All of the children older than 2 lined up to take the medicine and swallowed more than 1 tablespoon of the liquid despite some of the icky faces they made. I must say that I was impressed, because I don’t think most American children would have been quite so cooperative.
Apparently, it’s not uncommon for children, and even adults, to become infested with pinworms, threadworms, whipworms, large roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms here in Ghana. I want to note that these parasites are not completely uncommon in the US, either. As a result of poor sanitation, poor hygiene, contact with contaminated soil, and eating undercooked or contaminated food and water, these parasites enter the body through the mouth (or skin in the case of one type) and live in the intestines of their hosts. Knowing my increased likelihood of being or becoming a home for these unwelcome guests, I willingly swallowed the dose of medicine that was offered to me. I mean really, who wants worms anyway?