Each day, diarrhea kills more than 1,500 children under five. 90% of these child deaths happen in poor countries of Asia and Africa, where safe water, sanitation, and access to urgent medical care are limited.1 But this crisis can be solved: Diarrheal disease is preventable and treatable.
1 UNICEF. Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed. 2013 Progress Report. New York: UNICEF; 2013.
2 Forsberg, BC. Diarrhoea Case Management in Low- and Middle-income Countries—An Unfinished Agenda. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2007;85:42-48.
PATH is working to reestablish oral rehydration therapy (ORT) corners in Kenya, where mothers can easily access lifesaving rehydration for sick children.
No children should die of diarrhea and, with a coordinated package of proven interventions, they don't have to. Rotavirus vaccines are among the newest tools in the fight against diarrheal disease and the only way to prevent severe infection. Follow their trail as they show dramatic impact in Nicaragua and demonstrate their potential for saving young lives in Africa and Asia.
Studies led by Dr. George Armah will have worldwide impact, but he looks to how they can make life better for his own community.
Dispelling myths saves lives of children and their families.
For generations of Madagascans, the prospect of using a latrine meant confronting superstitions and changing traditions—not an easy task. When children learn from an early age that squatting over a pit can induce a miscarriage or that excrement does not belong in the same ground that holds their deceased family members, education to dispel these myths is just as important as the actual latrines themselves.
If you give students clean water, the entire community benefits in this Malawi community.
The negative consequences of contaminated water extend far beyond health issues such as diarrheal disease. For example, in Malawi, contaminated drinking water and the diarrheal disease it causes led to children missing many days of school.
Spreading healthy behaviors through simple songs that can be shared with families improves the health of the entire community.1
Maintaining good hygiene is a very serious issue in Tanzania, where cholera and diarrheal diseases frequently keep kids sick and away from school. However, school attendance has risen at Kisaki Primary School in Singida because the children are learning about good hygiene through song and sharing these songs with their families.
Breast milk for young infants protect children from future illnesses.
In Lesotho, a common cultural practice is to wait until a newborn’s umbilical cord falls off to begin breastfeeding. When Mamorena Namane gave birth, she fed her child only water for the first seven days of his life. She noticed that her son was frequently ill and later learned that not beginning breastfeeding immediately could have put her baby at risk.
Public demonstrations of how to administer a life-saving diarrheal disease intervention
Diarrhea is a leading cause of child death in Burundi, accounting for 18 percent of deaths among children under five. Population Services International (PSI)/Burundi has been distributing oral rehydration salts through commercial outlets in Burundi under the brand Orasel since 2004 as part of a USAID-funded project to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality.
One woman’s stand against diarrheal disease