Huffington Post, March 2014
"Along with the global effort to scale up...
In Mandwa and Anji villages, approximately 100 kilometers from Nagpur (Maharashtra, India), several families have taken to two simple practices. One, fixing plastic taps to the earthen pots in which they store drinking water and/or adding a few drops of hypochlorite solution to stored water.
Says the Government Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) of Mandwa village, Rajni Harke, “Up to three years ago, it was a very common practice for women and children to scoop water from the pots with their hands. Today, most of the families here also put two drops of chlorine in the approximately 10 liters of the earthen pot and they are able to consume the same for the day.’’
Although Maharashtra has access to safe drinking water at village level, high morbidity and mortality due to diarrhea in rural areas is still high. Dr. Pradeep Deshmukh, Professor at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) points out that coliform (a type of bacteria) levels were considerably higher in household water containers than in the original source water.
Under the Community Led Initiatives for Child Survival (CLICS) program that was supported by USAID and Aga Khan Foundation, the village health committees (VHC) purchased plastic faucets and bottles of sodium hypochlorite solution from a wholesale market and made it available at subsidized rates at village level. The cost of fitting a plastic faucet to earthen vessel and that of a 50 ml hypochlorite solution (4-6%) bottle was fixed at Rs 15 each (around US 30¢).
The intervention was promoted through the network of village level community based organizations (CBOs) and village health workers (VHWs) were also trained in fitting faucets and teaching mothers regarding use of hypochlorite solution.
A follow-up study across 10 villages of Primary Health Centre, Anji looked at 144 households which used either faucet-fitted earthen vessel to store drinking water or used sodium hypochlorite solution (SH) for keeping drinking water safe and 213 neighborhood control households from the same locality who used neither of the methods, and found that by using these methods, the community would prevent about 22 per cent cases of diarrhea.
In Anji, Sumitra Rajendra Vasule and Sudha Suresh Dehare are very clear in their minds about the benefits of this intervention. “We understand that this helps us prevent episodes of gastroenteritis. I remember how difficult it was to look after my 80-year-old mother-in-law, when she had such an episode some years ago.”
Sudha says, “Now all household members know that they should not put their hands in the earthen vessel. Earlier, the summer seasons in these villages always had episodes of diarrhea. I would say 75 per cent of illnesses have come down because of being careful about our drinking water.”
--Sushmita Malaviya, communications officer in Delhi for PATH’s Vaccine Development Program
For more information:
-- India makes strides in diarrhea treatment by adding zinc to oral rehydration therapy (ORT) kits.
-- Learn about PATH's Safe Water Project and their microfinance efforts in India.
Photo credit: PATHRead more
Have you ever been to the movies and seen a trailer for a film that you previously had no interest in seeing and then suddenly thought to yourself “That is a film I CANNOT MISS”?
That was the idea behind GAVI’s most recent production. It’s a three-minute film by a talented young American film maker called Ryan Youngblood that I stumbled across in Kigali one day and I think he and producer Doune Porter more than fulfilled their brief.
On April 26, during WHO’s first-ever World Immunization Week, Ghana will introduce not just one but two new vaccines into its immunisation programme.
The pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines will protect infants against the leading causes of the two biggest killers of children in Ghana and throughout the developing world – pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The GAVI Alliance and our partners UNICEF and WHO are working with Ghana’s Ministry of Health to plan a massive celebration in Accra at which the first children will be vaccinated.
On the same day, halfway across the world in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, our friends at the UN Foundation will be launching the Shot@Life campaign to encourage the American public to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save children’s lives around the world.
It’s such an exciting time to be working in global health and, as more and more power brokers embrace the value of investing in people’s health, we are literally seeing progress across the world on a daily basis.
As you can imagine, back in Ghana our colleagues are feeling more than a little pressure and this film brilliantly captures the careful, methodical planning process that is involved in introducing new vaccines into the national health programme.
It also portrays the skill, wit and energy that Ghanaian health professionals are investing in this extraordinary initiative. Like the best movie trailers, our little film has all the right ingredients to make you want to know what happens next: handsome men, beautiful women, tragedy, suspense, despair, hope and raw determination!
Watch it now, you won’t be disappointed.
It is also available in French here: http://vimeo.com/39105066
And German here: http://vimeo.com/39518348
-- Dan Thomas is Head of Media and Communications at the GAVI Alliance.
For more information:
-- Video: No child should die of diarrhea, and with simple solutions like rotavirus vaccines, they don't have to.
-- Blog: The delivery of rotavirus vaccines to Africa is a story that spans decades. Duncan Steele, rotavirus expert, reflects on his 30 year commitment.
Photo credit: Doune Porter/PATHRead more
As you can imagine, convincing attendees of PATH’s recent “PATH After Hours” donor event to sample oral rehydration solution (ORS) alongside their wine and appetizers was somewhat of a difficult sell. Most attendees politely declined my offer to take a swig of briny water as they approached my display table depicting PATH’s diarrheal disease control efforts.
But convincing them of the gravity of diarrheal disease globally was not difficult. Most found it impossible to politely ignore that today children still die from diarrhea--much less 1.3 million of them every year. Maybe attendees didn’t feel like dampening their pallets with some salty water (and who can blame them, really?), but they clung to my words depicting the devastation of diarrheal disease and nodded their heads vigorously to my descriptions of PATH’s multi-pronged approach to combating this disease.
“So what’s your spiel at this table”?
Basically, that diarrheal disease is the second leading killer of children under 5 worldwide, that it is the most common cause of child death in Africa; that while every child in the world is at risk for diarrheal disease and most experience it in their early years, it disproportionately takes the lives of developing-country children simply by dehydration.
“That’s horrible! What is PATH doing to stop this”?
Where resources are limited, diarrheal disease is difficult to control due to its multifaceted causes and influencers. PATH is combating diarrheal disease with a coordinated approach from multiple angles from water and sanitation, to vaccine development, to advocacy. Another one of those angles is encouraging use of ORS, which has been available for decades, as an ideal public health intervention. ORS is a very simple mixture of salts and sugars, extremely low-cost, easily administered by untrained individuals, and nearly 100% effective at reversing deadly dehydration.
“If ORS has been available for so long and is such an ideal intervention, why is its use low?”
The public health sector has developed many hypotheses for the lower-than-desired use of ORS, and PATH is further pursuing a couple of the promising solutions. By pursuing multiple methods to increase use of ORS, PATH hopes to significantly reduce deaths by dehydration globally. Some of PATH’s projects are focusing on:
· Producing ORS in the form of a tablet instead of a dry mixture under the idea that ORS would possibly be used more frequently if it looked more like a medicine than a water additive.
· Researching user preferences for product attributes like color, taste, and packaging to determine if country-specific product variations would increase use .
· Testing a new formulation of ORS that contains a starch additive to treat diarrheal symptoms under the idea that if ORS visibly reduces diarrhea, caregivers will be more likely to administer it as a treatment.
“What can I do to help?”
Keep the conversation open. Diarrhea is not thought of as a very polite topic of conversation, especially over a glass of wine and a plate of appetizers. But, the million-plus deaths per year are reason enough to keep talking about it. Join PATH’s conversation at www.defeatdd.org.
-- Anna Larsen in a Program Assistant for Technology Solutions at PATH
For more information:
-- Fact sheet: ORS Re-formulated: A new addition to an old solution
-- Zinc and ORS: Ready for take off in Cambodia
-- News: The British Medical Journal touts zinc and ORS as one of the best investments to achieve MDG 4.Read more
Last month I had the opportunity to go out into field with my colleagues in Cambodia where PATH is working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and local provincial health and operating districts to increase the coverage of zinc and ORS. A major new development in this effort has been the approval by the MOH, through the establishment of a new national policy on the control of acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease, to allow Village Health Groups (VHGs), essentially a team of two community health workers, to distribute zinc. In most countries zinc is regulated as a drug and therefore can only be distributed by licensed pharmacists, doctors and nurses. These regulations, despite the benign nature of zinc (no side effects, no risk of overdose, etc.), greatly hinder access. However, thanks to the new national policy, mothers in our pilot area in Cambodia are being supplied with zinc and ORS by their nearby VHG, greatly improving access and availability to rural areas.
Each quarter the VHGs from each village receive training and information at their nearest health center from staff trained by the provincial health office. In our pilot areas, two quarterly VHG meetings were dedicated to training VHGs to treat diarrhea using ORS and zinc, and to recognizing signs of pneumonia. In turn the VHGs use their regular monthly “mother classes” to build awareness among mothers in their villages about diarrhea and pneumonia, and to encourage the mothers to visit the VHG for zinc and ORS when their child has diarrhea.
At the quarterly meeting, the VHG gets resupplied with zinc and ORS as needed. Never before have the VHGs had the means to provide treatment. Previously, mothers would usually wait until the case was serious enough and then set off for the health center, which is often 20 to 30 bumpy kilometers on the back of a motor bike. Upon arrival at the health center, the child would often need expensive intravenous rehydration and an overnight stay.
As a result of the national policy, which in turn catalyzed this new approach to diarrhea management and the training and supplying of VHGs and the mothers classes, coverage of zinc and ORS is going up, and the number of cases of moderate to severe dehydration showing up at health centers has been falling in our pilot areas, quite significantly.
On my visit to the field I was joined by Dr. Veasna, the head of Cambodia’s Division of Acute Respiratory Infection/Control Diarrheal Disease) and a primary author of the new policy. He was extremely pleased to see the progress and, in partnership with PATH and UNICEF, the MOH is now making plans to take this program nationwide. With help from UNICEF, which will facilitate training down to the health centers, and PATH, which will facilitate reaching from the health centers to the villages via the VHGs and the mother classes, we are poised for achieving dramatic increases in zinc/ORS coverage throughout the country, and subsequently, reduced morbidity and mortality from diarrhea.
For more information:
-- Learn how PATH and the Government of Cambodia are combining strategies to tackle pneumonia and diarrhea through an integrated national policy.
-- Vietnam is bringing all resources to bear on overcoming diarrhea and setting a model for the Mekong region.
--This post was originally published on the ONE Campaign's blog
March Madness? How about tax madness? Ah, tax season. Whether it’s money you owe, or a refund coming your way, I’m sure you know how much it is. But if you’re like most us of, you likely don’t know where your tax dollars actually go. Think about it. Do you know how your tax dollars are spent? Don’t be discouraged, neither did I.
There’s so much talk in the news about social security, Medicare, and foreign assistance spending. It got us wondering how much we contribute to each. Well, thankfully we’ve now got a simple way for you to find out.
Today, we’re launching our new Interactive Tax Tool that shows you where your tax dollars go. Just enter your household income and you’ll see your tax money break down into eight categories -– national defense, social security, health, unemployment, Medicare, interest on US debt, foreign assistance and other. It’s not exact — it assumes you file as a single without exemptions — but you get the picture.
Most importantly, ONE’s tax tool reveals how only a small fraction of the US budget has already dramatically improved the lives of the poorest people on the planet, and how you personally have contributed to that effort. Together, Americans have helped put 5 million people on AIDS medication, halved malaria deaths in 11 African countries and saved the lives of 15 million children. Pretty amazing stuff.
Time and again, research has shown us that when people see how much good is being done for so little, their opinions on foreign assistance change. As a matter of fact, there’s no single message that effectively changes more skeptics into believers than the living proof of what has been accomplished for so little. The problem is, not enough people have seen this proof. That’s where you come in.
I’m asking you to not only check out the Tax Tool yourself, but to share it with all your friends. And ask them to share it with their friends too. Because the more people who see the proof that foreign aid is working, the more people will stand up to protect it. And after all, that’s what ONE is all about.Read more