New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Unicef launched a USD 5 million programme in India Wednesday for providing zinc supplementation and oral rehydration therapy to contain diarrhoea in children, officials associated with the project said.
Unicef Canada and Teck, a mineral company, launched the new programme that will save over 150,000 children’s lives in India.
The programme aims to scale up the use of zinc supplementation and oral rehydration salts (ORS) to treat diarrhoea while strengthening health care systems across India.
More children under the age of five die in India than anywhere else in the world. One of the leading causes of these deaths is diarrhoea.
Currently, only 2 percent of Indian children have access to zinc and ORS, a cost effective and proven life-saving diarrhoea treatment.
The new partnership will save 150,000 children’s lives over the course of the five year programme, and 50,000 lives annually going forward, in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh alone – three states with the highest burden of childhood diarrhoea in India through the provision of zinc and ORS.
“This new initiative exemplifies the considerable contributions corporate partnerships can make towards improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. UNICEF’s partnership with Teck in India will provide strategic investments in proven interventions,” said UNICEF Canada’s president David Morley.
The programme also aims to educate health workers and communities while strengthening the local supply chain to ensure zinc and ORS are accessible and that achievements made over the next five years are sustainable in the long term.
“In India, the number of children dying from diarrhoea, an illness that can be treated with zinc and ORS is particularly dire,” said Doug Horswill, senior vice president at Teck.
“As one of the world’s largest producers of zinc, we have the ability and knowledge to help address this critical children’s health issue.”