This research study examines the structural and sociocultural factors that explain why deworming treatments for soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are rarely employed in poor villages in China for schoolchildren with persistently high infection rates.
STHs are a group of parasitic intestinal worms that can infect humans through ingestion of parasitic eggs or skin contact with motile larvae of species of hookworm, roundworm, or whipworm. It's estimated that more than 1 billion people around the world are infected with at least one of these STHs.
The study found that the main barriers to seeking STH treatment includes lack of awareness about STHs, local mythos about worms an deworming, and poor quality of village health care. In order to combat this, a comprehensive nationwide deworming program in China should involve annual provision of free deworming treatment in village clinics or schools, distribution of culturally appropriate educational materials to inform children and families about STH infection, and improvement of the quality and access to health care delivered by village clinicians.