Did you know that diarrhea is a leading killer of kids in developing countries? If you answered “yes,” you get a virtual high-five! But there’s still remarkably low awareness about this global crisis, and that’s why we’re here.
Current levels of awareness and attention to diarrheal disease don’t match the scope of the problem. Diarrhea kills half a million children per year. Because diarrhea is a multifaceted issue, DefeatDD aims to convene diverse stakeholders, reshaping conversations and encouraging integrated efforts. A call for a combined prevention and treatment approach that brings all tools to bear has been the guiding principle of our movement since the beginning.
In the beginning…
In 2008, rotavirus vaccines were on the verge of World Health Organization approval for use in poor countries, where the burden is highest. PATH met with health ministers in several countries to share data on the forthcoming vaccine and its potential to protect their children; but we repeatedly heard the same response: “What is rotavirus? We have a bigger diarrhea problem.”
Health officials were enthusiastic when we explained that the vaccines would protect children from the deadliest form of diarrhea. They knew diarrhea was a severe problem in child health even if they didn’t know the specific name of the virus causing most severe infections. They said, “We also need to address the problem of diarrheal disease more broadly, and not just with vaccines.”
These conversations taught us that an integrated approach to diarrhea was not only a strategic frame to ensure investment in new tools like vaccines; it simply made sense and promised the greatest impact, based on the challenges facing families in poor settings.
As a team of communicators seeking to shape the way global stakeholders have the conversation about diarrhea—and in some cases, simply get the conversation started—increased awareness of proven tools, new interventions, and the resilient scourge of diarrhea on poor communities was the obvious answer. Recognizing that we were one voice among many others advocating to defeat diarrhea, we set out to convene experts, communities, scientists, global organizations, and grass-roots groups to help increase the volume through tools like social media. Together, our voices have amplified the issue and continue to bring much-needed attention to this too-common killer.
We bring diverse sectors together to break the poo taboo.
DefeatDD wouldn’t be much of a movement without partners dedicated to our shared mission of an integrated approach to defeat diarrheal disease. Though much of the campaign magic happens on the interwebs, person-to-person interactions are what make these efforts fruitful.
DefeatDD works with other stakeholders and coalitions on community messages, materials, and campaigns during key annual moments like World Water Day (March 22), Global Handwashing Day (October 15), World Pneumonia Day (November 12), and World Toilet Day (November 19), to name a few. We also co-chair the Health/WASH Network with WaterAid and provide support to the Diarrhea Innovations Group (DIG). Reports that we’ve co-authored with partners include Join up, scale up: How integration can defeat disease and poverty and Diarrhoea Dialogues: From Policies to Progress.
DefeatDD and path
DefeatDD aims to raise greater awareness about ongoing efforts to defeat diarrheal disease, both within PATH and beyond.
Team DefeatDD is housed with PATH's Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access (CVIA). Within CVIA, DefeatDD's advocacy activities are paralleled by PATH's technical projects to develop and deliver vaccines against some of the most common and life-threatening causes of childhood diarrhea. But we also recognize that, while they are pivotal tools, vaccines are not the only answer. By integrating vaccines within a comprehensive approach to diarrhea, we can ensure the greatest impact.
PATH's work also extends beyond vaccine development and delivery to defeat diarrhea. For decades, PATH has implemented programs to address the causes of diarrheal diseases and scale up solutions. We invite you to learn more about PATH's technical projects, which aim to:
- Expand access to clean water
- Encourage safe sanitation
- Develop rapid diagnostics
- Study new drugs, and
- Promote innovative policies.
PATH is one of many partners globally and locally working to save lives and strengthen communities by fighting diarrheal disease. Your stories and successes are pivotal to our advocacy, and together all of our voices strengthen the global conversation!
PATH is the leader in global health innovation. An international nonprofit organization, we save lives and improve health, especially among women and children. We accelerate innovation across five platforms—vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system and service innovations—that harness our entrepreneurial insight, scientific and public health expertise, and passion for health equity. By mobilizing partners around the world, we take innovation to scale, working alongside countries primarily in Africa and Asia to tackle their greatest health needs. Together, we deliver measurable results that disrupt the cycle of poor health.
meet the team
Lovingly known by our PATH colleagues as the Poo Crew, our cheeky team of taboo-busting communicators specializes in toilet jokes, poo puns, and distinctive digital advocacy. We are fiercely passionate about defeating diarrheal disease – and about sharing the stories of those most affected – but make no mistake: we take laughter very seriously.