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Special campaign to end diarrhoea in kids

- Thrust on breastfeeding, clean water

Ranchi, July 26: The state government will be launching an extensive drive from Monday to spread awareness about the need to control diarrhoea among children and promote breastfeeding.

The health department has joined hands with the social welfare department for the diarrhoea control campaign from July 28 to August 1. Thereafter, the breastfeeding week will kick off from August 2 and continue till August 8. Unicef will be providing technical support to the twin endeavours.

Chief of Unicef’s Jharkhand state office Job Zachariah and director of health services S.K. Choudhary announced the launch of the campaigns at Suchana Bhavan in Ranchi this morning.

“We have roped in sahiyas, anganwadi workers and auxiliary nurses and midwives, who will visit families having children below five years from July 28. Children suffering from diarrhoea will be provided ORS packets and zinc tablets. The tablets should be dissolved in boiling water or in milk. The target is to cover 35 lakh families across the state,” Zachariah said.

The health workers will also identify severely malnourished children and refer them to malnutrition treatment centres for treatment. They will also impart health tips like the need to wash hands after using toilets to school-going children.

“Apart from these door-to-door visits, we are also trying to create ORS and zinc tablet corners in all hospitals, primary health centres and community health centres across the state. In the second leg of our campaign that will start from August 2, we will generate awareness about the importance of breastfeeding, which also prevents diarrhoea. Our health workers will counsel families, asking mothers to breastfeed their children. Mother’s milk offers immunity from such diseases,” Zachariah said.

He further said that in Jharkhand, three lakh children below five years get affected by diarrhoea every year and 5,000 of them die.

Enumerating some of the reasons behind the rise in diarrhoea cases, Choudhary said: “It’s a matter of great concern that most families, especially in rural areas, don’t have access to safe drinking water. They should either boil the water or use hand pumps for drinking purposes.”