Cluster-randomised Trial of the Impact of School-based Deworming and Iron Supplementation on the Cognitive Abilities of
Schoolchildren in Sri Lanka's plantation sector
The objective is to assess the impact of deworming and iron supplementation on the cognitive abilities and educational achievement of school-age children in Sri Lanka. Prospective, placebo-controlled randomised study. The treatment group received deworming and weekly iron supplementation for 6 months; the control group received placebo for both the anthelmintic and iron. A mixed effects regression model was used to answer the main research question. To increase the precision of this study's estimates, various background variables were controlled for that were not related to treatment but could have some impact on the outcome.
The prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection was reduced in the treatment group (n = 615), with significant differences between treatment and control groups (n = 575) in the levels of Ascaris and Trichuris. No impact was found on haemoglobin (Hb) levels, nor any significant impact on concentration levels or on educational test scores. Conclusion: decline in STH prevalence alone, in the absence of improved Hb status, produced no evidence of impact on concentration levels or educational test scores.