Government launches drive to reduce diarrhoea deaths

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) To reduce diarrhoea deaths in the country, the union health ministry in collaboration with a few international health organisations on Friday launched the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight-2015 programme.

Between July 27 and August 8 Asha (Accredited social health activists) workers will carry out several activities in the remote parts of the states including paying home visits for distribution of ORS packets to every household with under-five children along with group counselling.

Other activities include establishing ORS-Zinc corners for the treatment of childhood diarrhoea at health facilities.

The Asha workers will also promote prescription of ORS along with zinc tablets by all healthcare providers.

Diarrhoea is considered to be one of the major killers in India, with 1.4 lakh deaths of children aged under five or 10.4 percent deaths of children of that age.

Apart from the health ministry, the other stakeholders in the programme are World Health Organisation (WHO), Unicef, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and Micro Nutrient Initiative (MI).

“Our target is to bring down the diarrhoea deaths to zero. This programme will ensure that people in the remotest part of the country will get awareness on how to tackle diarrhoea,” said Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services (DGHS), at the media launch of the programme.

The programme was also undertaken last year.

The health ministry has targeted 7-8 crore children across the country under the programme.

“As children living in slums and remote communities are at highest risk, ill-health and economic burden by diarrhoea further aggravates the existing inequalities,” a senior representative from WHO said.

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