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Policy unveiled to combat diarrheal disease, a killer of Kenyan children
Date:3/30/2010

(Nairobi, Kenya) Today the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, together with the Department of Family Health (Division of Child and Adolescent Health), unveiled a renewed set of national policy guidelines to redouble diarrhoeal disease management and control efforts by putting proven interventions to work within the country's health system. This announcement comes at a time when global progress against diarrhoea has stalled. Contrary to what many Kenyans believe, diarrhoea is dangerous and not a normal part of childhood development. When left untreated, diarrhoea kills─and is the third-leading cause of death of children under five years old in Kenya.

"Kenya has reduced diarrhoea-related deaths before, but recent data indicates that we have work to do to improve the use of basic treatments like oral rehydration therapy," offered Beth Mugo, MP, Minister for Public Health and Sanitation. "While many Kenyans have gained access to safe drinking water, the majority still lack access to proper sanitation. This updated policy to combat diarrhoeal disease builds on our achievements and lessons learned during the implementation of the previous policy formulated in the 1990s."

As part of its new diarrhoeal disease control policy, the government, through the Ministry of Public Heath and Sanitation and with help from partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), PATH, Population Services International (PSI), and Micronutrient Initiative, will distribute a new chart with the latest diarrhoeal disease control information to all health workers throughout the country this year. This chart will help health workers educate caregivers on how to care for their children at home and when to bring them into the clinic for additional treatment.

"Diarrhoea can be treated in the home with over-the-counter oral rehydration solution and zinc supplementation," noted Dr. Olivia Yambi of UNICEF. "Toge
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Contact: Paul Quirk
paul.quirk@gmmb.com
202-549-5394
PATH
Source:Eurekalert

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