The Star (Nairobi)

14 November 2012

Kenya: Ministry Fights Children's Death From Diarrhoea

AN estimated 74 children in every 1,000 births die from diarrhoea, it has been revealed. The Health ministry attributes the trend to inadequate measures to address the problem, including low levels of education.

The ministry is now calling on Kenyans to get Oral Rehydration Salts and zinc products to fight the disease that is ranked among the three top killers among children.

The head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health at the ministry, Stewart Kabaka, is appealing to communities that are adversely affected by diarrhoea to "access and accept" interventions aimed at reversing the trends.

Speaking yesterday in Nairobi at a workshop convened by Path International to disseminate findings on the effective use of medication to fight diarrhoea, Kabaka said:

"There is need to dispense zinc in the community while applying multiple support mechanisms such as hygiene and water and sanitation."

A low 16 per cent of healthcare givers interviewed reported to be aware of zinc, with a paltry five per cent having knowledge on where to access the drugs.

Kabaka appealed for behaviour change and application of an integrated community case management, which he said will empower healthcare providers and givers in fighting diarrhoea.

According to the Kenya Policy Change on Zinc improvement, Kenya is rated 14th among nations with the highest numbers of under-five deaths due to diarrhoea.

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