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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Schools target for lower childhood diarrhoea

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 25, 2012
First Published: 23:47 IST(25/4/2012) | Last Updated: 23:48 IST(25/4/2012)

 Zinc and oral rehydration salts (ORS) treatment is coming to the rescue of children under five years suffering from diarrhoea, which kills 3 lakh children each year.

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Dehydration, low immunity and malnutrition associated with diarrhoea results in 25-30 per cent of global diarrhoeal deaths in children under the age of five in India alone.

Micronutrient Initiative, an international non-profit organisation working in the field of disease management and nutrition in developing countries, is distributing two sachets of

ORS and 14 zinc tablets to children in villages through Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), anganwadi workers and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs).

“Giving ORS solution to children suffering from diarrhoea will only replenish water loss. To kill the infection, they need to complete a 14-day course of zinc tablets,” said Venkatesh Mannar, president, Canada-based Micronutrient Initiative. He is in Delhi for a field visit.

The central health department along with Micronutrient Initiative, UNICEF and other global NGOs is coming up with national operational guidelines for treatment of childhood diarrhoea using zinc and ORS.

Inadequate to total lack of drinking water, toilets etc in Indian schools result in high drop-out rates and absenteeism, especially among girl students.

Through its Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiative in schools, UNICEF wants to improve the children’s health and overall development.

“Children motivate and bring positive hygiene and sanitation habits to their homes and society,” said Sanjay Singh, director, state water and sanitation mission, government of Bihar, during the four-day south Asia regional conference on water sanitation and hygiene in all schools in the Capital.

The programme includes providing clean water for drinking and washing, separate toilets for girls and boys, soap, waste-management facility in schools that would cut down serious infections such as diarrhoea etc.


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