Despite the existence of inexpensive and efficient means of treatment, diarrhoea kills more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, according to a report issued here Wednesday by the U.N. Children’s Fund and the World Health Organisation. The report, titled “Diarrhoea: Why Children Are Still Dying and What Can Be Done,” includes information on the causes of diarrhoea, data on access to means of prevention and treatment, and a seven- point plan to reduce diarrhoea deaths. “It is a tragedy that diarrhoea, which is little more than an inconvenience in the developed world, kills an estimated 1.5 million children each year,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman.
“Inexpensive and effective treatments for diarrhoea exist, but in developing countries only 39 per cent of children with diarrhoea receive the recommended treatment.” Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, said: “We know where children are dying of diarrhoea. We know what must be done to prevent those deaths. We must work with governments and partners to put this seven-point plan into action.”
Diarrhoea is a common symptom of gastrointestinal infection. However just a handful of organisms are responsible for most acute cases of diarrhoea and one, Rotavirus, is responsible for more than 40 per cent of all diarrhoea-related hospital admissions of children under five. A new vaccine for Rotavirus has been found to be safe but is still largely unavailable in most developing countries. — Xinhua