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Camp Public Health Lab Starts work on School Health Project


Technicians from the IHS Public Health Laboratory organized laboratory set up in camps near primary schools, set up for base line survey of health status of school children.

These camp public health laboratories will do quantitative tests to estimate parasite load in stool samples collected from school children. Hookworm is usually a major contributor to anaemia and easy fatiguability among school children, and is likely to affect school attendance as well as learning. Most research studies to estimate prevalence of soil transmitted helminthiasis including hook worm, do qualitative tests that determine whether evidence of parasite infestation is there or not. But mere presence of parasite infestation does not necessarily lead to anaemia or fatiguability. The quantity of worm load in children is a key factor for the adverse outcome of aneamia, easy fatiguability, and poor learning outcomes. Hence quantitative estimation of parasite load in stool samples is very important. However the logistics of such testing programmes is usually very difficult.

On 13th and 14th August, 09 technicians from the IHS Public Health Laboratory were trained by the Microbiology department of the Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), in the Kato Katz technique of quantitative estimation of parasite load in stool samples, under the leadership of Dr. V. Lakshmi.

Subsequently the IHS Camp Lab team went to two primary schools and camped there from 21-22 Aug, 09. The Camp Lab team was accompanied by Mrs Padmashree, Senior Technician, Microbiology, NIMS, who was deputed by Dr. Lakshmi, the Head, Dept of Microbiology. Temporary lab was set up in one of the village, in a room provided by Panchayat President.

The Camp Lab team screened 59 samples from 2 schools. Analysis was done by IHS technicians under the guidence of the Senior technician from NIMS. Out of 59 stool samples, only one sample was positive for Hookworm. The picture of Hookworm egg is also attached

The Camp Lab team will start formal data collection activity from 24-08-09 and it is expected to get completed by September 15 2009.

This activity is part of the base line survey of school children’s health status, which is part of an action research programme by the Azim Premji Foundation to improve primary education performance. The study is a 3 way partnership between Andhra Pradesh Government, Azim Premji Foundation and The Institute of Health Systems with support from the World Bank. The main objective of the study is to measure the health status of primary school children in study and control schools, prior to implementation of the interventions. The indicators chosen to estimate health status include anthropometric measures of child nutritional status, a simple physical examination for vision and Vitamin A deficiencies, a pin prick blood test for haemoglobin count, and a stool test for prevalence of worms.


A view of work bench in Camp Lab

Technicians at work in Camp Lab

Sieving stool through nylon mesh

Hookworm egg seen through microscope

Kato Katz Sample Preparation - Video




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