Programme to reduce diarrhoea related deaths launched

A pilot project to combat the resurgence of under-five child mortality caused by diarrhea in Embu County has been launched.

The project, launched by Ministry of Health, Nutrition International Kenya and the Development arm of the Catholic Church Caritas entails ensuring that ORS and Zinc co-packs drugs were stocked to specified local shops and kiosks to ease their accessibility.

This will be a shift from the normal trend of accessing the drugs in health centres or chemists which are some distance away in the rural settings leading to delayed treatment.

Speaking during the launch in Riandu market, Mbeere North Sub County, Head of Neonatal Child and Adolescent Health Unit in the Ministry of Heath, Dr. Osman Warfa said the programme would reduce delayed treatment that causes death.

He said the community would be sensitized on managing the disease and that 12 community units had been identified and 150 community health workers trained to help in the implementation of the programme in Nthawa and Muminji wards, where the disease was prevalent.

He said zinc and ORS drugs had proven to be effective in curing diarrhea, the third killer among children under five after pneumonia and malaria, and thus the drugs would be prepositioned to be the first line treatment.

The official said national coverage of zinc supplementation during diarrheal episodes remained at eight percent, while the use of ORS alone stood at 53 percent.

He said statistics showed that diarrhea kills 52 percent out of 1, 000 live births children under-five years and affected 16 out of every 100 sick children.

These statistics are very discouraging and need to be scaled down through accessibility to drugs and educating parents on the need to seek timely treatment the moment their children show symptoms of diarrhea, he said.

The Embu County Health Director, Dr. Stephen Kaniaru said the department has come up with a programme of helping children suffering from malnutrition to reduce chances of contracting diarrhea due to poor eating habits.

Source: Kenya News Agency