The Centre has launched a special drive to reach out to nearly 12 crore under-five children within a fortnight to reduce child deaths from diarrhoea, which kills 1.1 lakh children in India every year.
The Centre has launched a special drive to reach out to nearly 12 crore under-five children within a fortnight to reduce child deaths from diarrhoea, which kills 1.1 lakh children in India every year. The health ministry has launched the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF), under which community awareness campaigns on hygiene and promotion of ORS and zinc therapy will be conducted at the state level. “Through this initiative, the ministry will mobilise health personnel, state governments and other stakeholders to prioritise investment in control of diarrhoea, one of the most common childhood illnesses,” an official statement said. The IDCF aims to create mass awareness about the most effective and low-cost diarrhoea treatment — a combination of oral rehydration salt (ORS) solution and zinc tablets.
The ministry plans to cover nearly 12 crore under-five children during the programme across the country. “The ministry launched the IDCF in order to intensify efforts to reduce child deaths due to diarrhoea,” it said. The ministry said that India has realised impressive gains in child survival over the last two decades as there has been a consistent decline in the infant mortality rate (IMR) and under-five mortality rate (U5MR). “Increased access to immunisation and child healthcare services during this period have greatly contributed to this decline. “Yet, an estimated 1.1 million children die each year in India, including approximately 1.1 lakh deaths due to diarrhoea,” the statement said. During the fortnight, ASHA worker would undertake distribution of ORS packets to households with under-five children in her village.
ORS-Zinc corners will be set up at health care facilities and non-health facilities such as schools and Anganwadi centres. Frontline workers will hold a demonstration of ORS preparation, along with counselling on feeding during diarrhoea and hygiene and sanitation. The activities are also being supported by other ministries especially that of education, Panchayati Raj institutions, women and child development and water and sanitation. The ministry said that a range of preventive and promotive interventions are already being implemented such as Vitamin A supplementation, promoting early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding up to six months and appropriate complementary feeding.
Besides this, introduction of rotavirus vaccine under the Universal Immunisation Programme will also help in reducing diarrhoea mortality due to rotavirus disease, the ministry said in the statement. Almost all the deaths due to diarrhoea can be averted by preventing and treating dehydration by use of ORS, administration of Zinc tablets along with adequate nutritional intake by the child. Diarrhoea can be prevented with safe drinking water, sanitation, breastfeeding and appropriate nutrition and hand- washing.