By Camille Saade, FHI 360 Senior Project Director for Partnerships
Last week a consortium of health organizations, led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Agency for International Development, launched the Global Action Plan on Pneumonia and Diarrhea. The overall goal of the plan is to end preventable deaths by working with national governments, funders, multilateral institutions, the private sector and other partners. FHI 360 has signed a statement of support for the new plan.
Hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 5 die every year from preventable diseases. Pneumonia claims 1.3 million and diarrhea claims 700,000 children, mostly in their first two years of life. But, research that was released last week in the Lancet shows that if we aggressively scale up 15 presently available interventions, we can eliminate 95 percent of diarrheal and 67 percent of pneumonia deaths in children under 5 by the year 2025. These interventions include improved water, sanitation and hygiene; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life; community case management; and the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS) to treat diarrhea.
FHI 360’s Diarrhea Alleviation through Zinc and ORS Therapy (DAZT) project has been working in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat in India to dramatically increase the use of ORS and zinc to treat diarrhea. FHI 360 pioneered a new partnership model involving pharmaceutical companies and nongovernmental organizations to reach health providers in the rural areas where diarrhea causes the most deaths. Our focus is on ensuring demand and a continuous supply of these treatments where they are most needed.
To learn more about the Global Action Plan on Pneumonia and Diarrhea consortium’s statement of support, visit: defeatdd.org/take-action/global-action-plan/ngo-statement-support.