New Delhi: Union Health Minister JP Nadda launched a two-month STOP Diarrhoea campaign, aimed at attaining zero deaths due to childhood diarrhoea, on Monday. While the existing diarrhoea strategy entailed a two-week campaign with pre-positioning of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) to children under the age of five and limited IEC (Information, Education and Communication), the new strategy involves a two-month campaign with pre-positioning of two ORS packets and zinc as a co-packaging to these children.

“The goal behind the two-month long STOP Diarrhoea campaign is to attain zero deaths due to childhood diarrhoea,” Nadda said.

“There is a unique relationship between Mission Indradhanush, rotavirus vaccine and this STOP Diarrhoea Campaign as all were among the first initiatives launched during my earlier tenure as health minister,” he said.

Nadda said various government initiatives cumulatively helped in reducing childhood mortality due to diarrhoea.

He highlighted that India was the first country to introduce the rotavirus vaccine in 2014. Similarly, the National Jal Jeevan Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and expansion of the Ayushman Arogya Mandir network significantly contributed to the reduction of diarrhoea cases and mortality in the country.

The minister emphasised the importance of sensitising health workers along with enhancing capacity-building efforts to strengthen diarrhoea management efforts.

Expressing appreciation for the states’ preparedness level, Nadda encouraged them to increase mass awareness.

“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 the STOP Diarrhoea Campaign,” he stated.

Noting that “only healthy children lead to a healthy nation”, Union Minister of State for Health Jadhav Prataprao stressed on more effort being put in place to prevent diarrhoea.

He also urged the officials to focus on cleanliness and setting diarrhoea prevention targets, in addition to providing ORS and zinc tablets to children.

Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel said it is distressing that childhood diarrhoea, which is both preventable and curable, causes so many loss of lives.

She urged representatives from states and other organisations to “re-energise their efforts and increase awareness on diarrhoea to reach the goal of zero childhood deaths due to diarrhoea”.

Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra 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,” he said.

To tackle the persistent issue of childhood diarrhoea and strive for zero deaths, the health ministry 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 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 campaign will be implemented in two phases — the preparatory phase from June 14 to 30, and the campaign phase from July 1 to August 31.

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.

Focus areas of the campaign include ensuring proper maintenance and use of health facilities and the availability of essential medical supplies (ORS, zinc), particularly in rural areas, and improving access to clean water and sanitation.

It also includes addressing malnutrition, a major contributor to diarrhoeal diseases, through improved nutritional initiatives and equipping schools with necessary facilities and fostering healthy habits among children through comprehensive hygiene education programmes.

  • Published On Jun 25, 2024 at 01:11 PM IST

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