Coming soon: DefeatDD’s new state-of-the-field report
In April 2009 (can’t believe it was eight years ago!), my first task as a newly minted member of PATH’s Poo Crew was to help finalize and launch our team’s first-ever state of the field report on diarrhea: Diarrheal Disease: Solutions to Defeat a Global Killer. I also helped to collect the names of more than 100 organizations from around the world that signed onto a Call to Action statement advocating for greater attention to, and urgency around, diarrheal disease.
As we’d hoped, so much content in those pages is outdated thanks to global progress.. In those early materials, we said things like “Rotavirus vaccines may soon be available for global use.” In late 2009, the World Health Organization issued its recommendation for all countries introduce rotavirus vaccines into their national immunization programs, a key step for vaccine procurement through structures like UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Today, rotavirus vaccine is a public health success story, introduced in more than 90 countries, setting an example for new vaccines against other leading causes of diarrhea that are coming down the pike.
Integration has moved from an outlier idea to a common concept in policy dialogues. In 2013, the WHO and UNICEF launched the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), which marked the first-ever strategy to simultaneously tackle both diseases.
Since that time, the world achieved the Millennium Development Goal on safe drinking water. The United States passed the Water for the World Act to strengthen our leadership on this issue. National governments are increasingly focusing on these issues; India is one example.
These successes shine a light on where we’ve been, and the work we have yet to do. Because although fewer children are dying, it would be unfair to say that those children who survive are guaranteed healthy lives. We’re learning that diarrhea, especially the long-term damage from repeated infections, can cause is its own silent crisis.
New landscape, new report
The shape of the problem has shifted from a focus solely on deaths to long-term consequences, but we feel just as strongly as we did in 2009 that there is so much more we can accomplish together.
Between now and World Toilet Day (November 19), we are excited to share with you our second state of the field report, Stop the Cycle of Diarrheal Disease. Starting on November 9 we will unveil the report, chapter by chapter, with a full release on November 17. The report will provide advocates like you with the data you need to help spread the message that our work isn’t over. Diarrheal disease continues to be a burden for children, families, and communities, and it’s a crisis we can solve.
Help us make a stink. Let’s talk toilets!
In 2009, we issued a Call to Action. But it’s 2017, and that calls for updated tactics.
Starting November 9 through World Toilet Day, help us celebrate progress – and call for continued investments – by using the hashtag #DefeatDD to share your own Toilet Talk! (Think TED Talk. But much shorter. And in a bathroom.) A bathroom is a silly and surprising backdrop, which we think will put the serious issue of diarrheal disease in the spotlight, spark conversation, and inspire action.
Here’s some video ins-poo-ration. And when you’re ready to do your own, here’s a handy how-to guide.