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"Centre's various initiatives helped reduce childhood mortality due to diarrhoea": Health Minister Nadda

24 Jun 2024

New Delhi [India], June 24 (ANI): Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda said that various initiatives taken by the Union Government have cumulatively helped in reducing childhood mortality due to diarrhoea.

Nadda was addressing the launch event of 'Stop Diarrhoea Campaign 2024' in Delhi on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion, JP Nadda said that there is a unique relationship between Mission Indradhanush, the Rotavirus vaccine and this STOP Diarrhoea Campaign as all were amongst the first initiatives launched during my earlier tenure as the Health Minister.

He highlighted that in 2014, India was the first country to introduce the Rotavirus vaccine.

"Similarly, the National Jal Jeevan Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and expansion of the Ayushman Arogya Mandir network has significantly contributed to the reduction of diarrhoea cases and mortality in the country," Nadda said.

The Union Health Minister also emphasized the importance of sensitizing health workers along with enhancing capacity-building efforts to strengthen diarrhoea management efforts in India. Expressing his appreciation for the preparedness level of the states, JP Nadda further encouraged them to enhance awareness among the masses.

"If our healthcare workers could reach the remotest corners of the country and administer 220 crore doses of Covid vaccines, I am sure that our frontline healthcare workers can create the same robust delivery mechanism during STOP Diarrhoea Campaign too", he added.

Union Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel and Jadhav Patraprao Ganpatrao were also present at the event. The dignitaries also released IEC materials like logos, posters, radio spots and audiovisuals for the campaign and distributed oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc tablets to children on the occasion.

Noting that "only healthy children lead to a healthy nation", Jadhav Prataprao emphasized that more effort should be put in place to prevent diarrhoea in the first place. He also urged the officials to focus on cleanliness and setting diarrhoea prevention targets in addition to providing ORS and zinc tablets to children.

Anupriya Patel said, "It is distressing that childhood diarrhoea is both preventable and curable, yet many lives are lost due to this menace." She urged the representatives from states and other organizations to "re-energize their efforts and increase awareness on diarrhoea to reach the goal of zero childhood deaths due to diarrhoea".

Apurva Chandra, Union Health Secretary said, "Diarrhoea is a common disease faced by children. Earlier the government used to run a fortnightly campaign to reduce diarrhoea which is now reinvigorated into a much extensive and comprehensive campaign."Dr Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services said that diarrhoea is a common yet preventative disease among children. He hoped that this campaign would help in strengthening the diarrhoea management strategy in the country.

According to a Health Ministry release, the goal behind the STOP Diarrhoea Campaign 2024 is to attain zero child deaths due to childhood diarrhoea. While the existing diarrhoea strategy entailed a 2-week campaign with pre-positioning of ORS to under-5 children and limited IEC, the new strategy involves a 2-month long campaign with pre-positioning of 2 ORS packets and zinc as a co-packaging to under-5 children.

It will also involve extensive IEC through different platforms and collaboration across multiple sectors, including health, water and sanitation, education, and rural development, the release further mentioned.

Senior officials from states who were present on the occasion also shared their thoughts and feedback on the campaign. They also provided updates on their preparedness level and shared some of their best practices on the same.

The release also stated that to tackle the persistent issue of childhood diarrhoea and strive for zero child deaths, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has rebranded its long-standing Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) as the STOP Diarrhoea Campaign.

This initiative, which began in 2014, focuses on enhancing the Prevent, Protect, and Treat (PPT) strategy and increasing the use of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and Zinc. The campaign's 2024 slogan, "Diarrhoea ki Roktham, Safai aur ORS se rakhen apna dhyaan", highlights the significance of prevention, cleanliness, and appropriate treatment.

The STOP Diarrhoea Campaign will be implemented in two phases: the Preparatory Phase from 14th to 30th June 2024, and the Campaign Phase from 1st July to 31st August 2024. Key activities during this period include the distribution of ORS and Zinc co-packages by ASHA workers to households with children under five, setting up ORS-Zinc corners at health facilities and Anganwadi centres, and intensifying advocacy and awareness efforts for effective diarrhoea management. Additionally, the campaign will strengthen service provision for diarrhoea case management to ensure comprehensive care and prevention, the release said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is working closely with various line ministries such as Drinking Water and Sanitation, Women and Child Development, School Education, Rural Development, and Urban Development. This multi-sectoral approach ensures better convergence and implementation of the STOP Diarrhoea Campaign, aiming for a comprehensive and impactful program to reduce child mortality and improve public health, it added. (ANI)

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