On the directions of the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda, Ministry of Health launched nationwide “Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF)”, here today. The Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) will be observed from 11th to 23rd July across the country. The Ministry also unveiled a package of measures putting the Government’s resolve to end child diarrhoea deaths on the overdrive.
As directed by the Health Minister J P Nadda to reach out to the under-five children, the timing of the programme is very critical as this is just the onset of monsoon and diarrhoea is beginning to show up. Various activities shall form part of this fortnight. ASHAs shall visit all households with children below five years of age for pre-positioning the ORS. They shall also explain the benefits of these. The importance of this activity is that ORS will be available in the household when needed at the time of diarrhea. It is often observed that during critical stages of diarrhoea, ORS is not available in the households. Secondly, all health facilities shall have ORS corners which shall continuously demonstrate the way to prepare the ORS mixture. These corners will also administer ORS and Zinc to children who are in need of these during diarrhoea. With a sharpened focus on demand generation, an important component of the IDCF is IEC activities that shall not only create awareness but also generate demand. Intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and promotion of ORS and Zinc therapy will be conducted at the state, district and village levels.
There are about 10 crore children below five years of age across the country. During last year, due to the interventions carried out as part of IDCF, about 6.3 crore children were reached out to. This year in order to expand the cover of this fortnight, the target is to cover all the under-5 children. 21 Lakh children could be prevented from hospitalisation and death due to Diarrhoea last year. More than 5 lakh schools participated in the IDCF campaign and more than 3.5 lakh ORS corners were set up in the country. In order to ensure a sturdy mechanism for monitoring, this year, 23 national monitors shall assess the efficacy of the activities. This shall be complemented by monitors from the State governments and development partners.
The combination of ORS and Zinc has been found to be the most cost-effective intervention to prevent deaths due to diarrhea and has been recognised as one of the best practices globally.