There has been 62 per cent reduction in prevalence of diarrhoea in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, says a survey conducted by a non-governmental organisation under its Stop Diarrhoea Initiative (SDI).
According to a baseline and end line survey conducted by the NGO Save the Children' in 2014 and 2018, respectively, the implementation of a 7-point plan for Diarrhoeal Control and Prevention has successfully demonstrated 62 per cent reduction in prevalence of diarrhoea in intervention areas.
Further, based on estimates, the SDI programme has been successful in averting about 16,000 cases of diarrhoea and an estimated reduction in mortality due to the disease lowered by 15 per cent, the NGO said in a statement.
"India ranks high on the global list of deaths due to diarrhoea and pneumonia, where diarrhoea alone is responsible for 9 per cent under-5 deaths. Out of the 4.8 lakh deaths globally, around 1 lakh deaths occur in India. That makes it 287 daily deaths or 2 deaths every hour," Arti Garg, Assistant Commissioner-Child Health, Ministry of Health said.
"It needs huge efforts to achieve our goals for 2030 and hence, we congratulate Save the Children' for this multi-sectoral convergence to operationalise diarrhoea control programs. Co-packaging ORS and Zinc in the treatment package has given a significant boost to reducing diarrhoeal deaths in their intervention areas," she said.
The NGO designed the intervention for the WHO/UNICEF seven point plan and tested it across four states, namely Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, to achieve 100 per cent coverage at ward and block levels, i.E. More than 80 per cent coverage recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a targeted location.
The programme intervened in nine locations--six rural and three urban--spread across the four states.
The project particularly catered to 473 rural gram panchayat of Uttar Pradesh and reached out to 2 million people through diarrhoea treatment packages, construction of community toilet complexes and child-friendly school sanitary blocks in targeted communities, the statement said.
A particular focus on health clubs was brought in for children to practice their learning outside schools in their community and influence the behaviour of their younger siblings and peers, it said.
"Save the Children's SDI project is also aligned to the National Health Mission's Integrated Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (IAPPD) approach, which strengthens the existing approaches towards prevention of diarrhoea to achieve higher coverage of interventions," O P Singh, Team Leader, Stop Diarrhoea Initiative, said.
The project contributes to Save the Children's global ambition to eliminate diarrhoea as a leading cause of death amongst children by 2020.