Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.

back to activity

VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Management of wasting
Micronutrients in Emergencies
Provision of deworming medication

Provision of deworming medication


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

Soil-transmitted helminth infections are among the most common infections in humans, caused by a group of parasites commonly referred to as worms, including roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms. Those living in poverty are most vulnerable to infection which can impair nutritional status by causing: internal bleeding which can lead to loss of iron and anaemia; intestinal inflammation and obstruction; diarrhoea; and impairment of nutrient intake, digestion, and absorption.

Soil-transmitted helminths – which include roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworms (Trichuris trichiura), and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale) – are among the most common causes of infection in people who live in the developing world. WHO estimates that over 270 million preschool children and over 600 million school-age children are living in areas where these parasites are intensively transmitted and are in need of treatment and preventive interventions.

Research has shown that when children are treated with deworming medication, worm infections become less prevalent not only for children who received the medication but for those who live in the same environment as treated children.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Children are most vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies from worms.


Environmental Impact Categories

Soil pollution
Water pollution
Cultural acceptance
Impact on wellbeing / mental health

Summary of Impacts
Summary of Potential environmental impacts

Helminths transmitted by eggs excreted in human faeces, contaminating soil.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information
  • Soil-transmitted helminths are transmitted by eggs excreted in human faeces, which contaminate the soil in areas that lack adequate sanitation. People are infected through ingestion of infective eggs or larvae that contaminate food, hands, or utensils, or by penetration of the skin by infective larvae that contaminate the soil. Since these parasites do not multiply in the human host, reinfection occurs only as a result of contact with infective stages in the environment.
  • Preventative chemotherapy is an important part of a comprehensive package to eliminate morbidity due to soil-transmitted helminths in at-risk populations. However, long-term solutions to soil-transmitted helminth infections will need to address many factors, including improvements in water, sanitation, and hygiene.


Summary of environmental activities
  • Hand washing
  • Provision of clean / treated water; safe water storage
  • Provision of adequate sanitation
  • Good hygiene practices
    Preventative chemotherapy.
Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities
  • Deworming medication is only temporary assistance, although it can be used regularly. However, it should be supported by the provision of clean / treated water and education in safe water storage and consumption accompanied by the provision of adequate sanitation that prevents human faeces coming into contact with soil in the environment. This needs further support with training in good hygiene practices including effective hand washing.
  • Preventative chemotherapy is an important part of a comprehensive package to eliminate morbidity due to soil-transmitted helminths in at-risk populations.
Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Vitamin Angels cooperate with local partners to give anti-parasitics and vitamin A supplements to children in Belize, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. They also support communities in hygiene awareness and hygiene behaviour change and have seen a significant drop in environmental transmission.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

The number of deworming treatments provided.

Activity Status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time and budget for medication, and for funding hygiene, water and sanitation facilities, and training.

to top
icon-menu icon-close icon-account icon-arrow icon-down icon-back icon-pointed-arrow icon-left icon-up icon-bookmark icon-share twitter facebook2 printer envelope icon-close-alt icon-top icon-loading icons / login