In order to increase awareness on the usage of zinc tablets and ORS for tackling diarrhoea November 15 will be observed as “zinc and ORS diwas” across Delhi and the National Capital Region.

Union and State governments, in association with Rotary International will organise 40 awareness camps to educate the general public about the killer disease.

India National Polio Plus Society chairman Deepak Kapur said: “The main objective of our programme is to bring awareness about the rampant incidences of diarrhoea in the rural and urban masses and educate them of the zinc tablets and ORS available in the market. The disease is still an endemic in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and children in these regions are increasingly vulnerable because of the poor sanitation, malnourishment, and contaminated drinking water available.’’

Citing reasons for paying attention to the disease he added, “Diarrhoea kills nearly 500,000 children in the country every year. It is very important for people to know and understand that there have been remedies devised to counter the problem. Zinc and ORS together act as a major deterrent for diarrhoea and are at the same time cost effective.’’

Rotary International has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Academy of Paediatrics to make the campaign successful.

Former Indian Academy of Paediatrics president Dr. Naveen Thacker said: “The ORS-zinc campaign will help in speedy recovery from diarrhoea. In addition, one possible reason for polio virus persistence in States like UP and Bihar is high diarrhoeal incidence. Each diarrhoeal episode causes damage to intestinal mucosa and hampers its absorption capacity for a long time which interferes with vaccine uptake, making these children susceptible to polio virus.’’