UNICEF issues advisory to public health authorities

The UNICEF had given an advisory to public health authorities on prevention of diarrhoeal deaths and has suggested a seven-point plan to prevent childhood mortality caused due to diarrhoea, said S. Elango, State president, Indian Public Health Association.

“The global body had cautioned countries such as India to take effective steps for prevention of diarrhoea which is becoming a common cause of death of children. This advisory becomes much relevant now in view of the outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases in various districts, including Theni, Virudhunagar, Sivaganga and Dharmapuri,” he said.

Dr. Elango, former Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, told The Hindu here on Tuesday that the seven-point plan would be helpful in reducing diarrhoea impact on children below five years of age.


The guidelines were given under two heads: appropriate treatment package which focuses on cause of diarrhoeal diseases and then the preventive package that stresses on hygiene.

Intensified Oral Dehydration Therapy, continuing of feeding even in cases of diarrhoea/vomiting, zinc administration, immunisation against spread of virus, safe water/good sanitation and hygiene, and feeding infants with Vitamin-A supplements were among the steps suggested by the UNICEF, he said.

Dr. Elango addressed the MBBS final-year and postgraduate students of Madurai Medical College on Tuesday and gave them an orientation on prevention of diarrhoeal deaths.

“Washing of hands before taking food is very important. That is an important part of hygiene protocol,” he stressed.

The former Director of Public Health said that even though the number of diarrhoeal deaths among infants was reduced substantially due to right intervention strategies, the deaths among children under five years of age are still occurring.