(Hanoi, Vietnam) Each year, diarrheal disease claims the lives of 1.3 million children under five worldwide and hospitalizes millions more. The vast majority of these deaths occur in developing countries of Asia and Africa, but fortunately, interventions exist that can greatly reduce deaths and save lives. To bring attention to the solutions available today for defeating diarrhea, the Vietnam Ministry of Health, the National Pediatric Hospital of Vietnam, and PATH are hosting a two-day regional workshop where they will present the evidence and lessons learned from initiatives currently underway.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health recently unveiled new national "Guidelines for Management of Diarrheal Disease in Children," reinforcing the government's commitment to saving children's lives by preventing diarrhea-related illness. The guidelines add new interventions like zinc and low-osmolarity oral rehydration solution (ORS) to proven interventions including proper nutrition, hygiene, and continued breastfeeding, which have helped Vietnam reduce the number of diarrhea-related deaths among children under five during the past two decades.
"We hope that this conference empowers provincial health leaders to apply the new guidelines in their communities," said Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, general director of the Vietnam Medical Health Services Administration. "We have the knowledge and tools to significantly reduce the health and economic burdens that diarrheal disease creates in Vietnam, and we want to encourage best practices across Asia."
The greatest burden of diarrheal disease in Vietnam falls on the rural poor, where access to clean water and simple, lifesaving treatments like ORS can be limited. The country had seen major gains through the provision of ORS, but in the past couple of years, officials noted that diarrheal morbidity and mortality had stagnated. The new clinical guidelines bring an opportunity to re-invigorate their commitment to
|Contact: Paul Quirk|