NEW DELHI: In a new strategy to address diarrheal deaths, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday launched the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) demonstrating the urgent need to focus attention on the disease that is responsible for over 2 lakh deaths of children in India every year.
Under the IDCF, Apart from health interventions, the role of the wider community would be sought in generating awareness on the simple steps that could prevent such tragedies.
During the fortnight, intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and age-appropriate childhood feeding practices and promotion of ORS and Zinc therapy will be conducted at state, district and village levels. The focus will be on diarrhoea control activities during the first week and on infant and young child feeding practices (IYCF) during the second week. ORS-Zinc Corners will be set-up at health care facilities.
Health workers will hold counselling sessions on appropriate methods of Infant and Young Child feeding practices, hygiene and sanitation. Maintaining that India’s health administrators failed to spread mass awareness on diarrhoea management speaks volumes of the inefficiency of previous programmes, Health Minister said, “Our government has placed unprecedented emphasis on out of the box solutions to long -standing problems. So much has been done for so many years. What we now need are ideas which defy the trodden path and call for courageous action.”
Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative said, “This national campaign to fight diarrhoea - the third deadliest illness for children - will re-energize efforts to prevent the deaths of millions of children in the country. IDCF targets to reduce mortality rates and raise levels of children’s access to life-saving interventions.”
Emphasizing that diarrhoea is preventable and treatable, Dr Nata Menabde, WHO chief in India, said “Many children in the developing world cannot access urgent medical care for severe illnesses.”