State health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh distributed ORS packets and zinc tablets among children at Doranda Hospital in Ranchi on Monday to mark the beginning of a fortnight-long statewide campaign for an intensive diarrhoea control programme.
Around 30,000 sahiyas and auxiliary nurses will make residents aware about the disease and ways to control it.
“The sahiyas will do a door-to-door campaign. They will hand over a pack of ORS, zinc tablets and paper soap to each children below 5 years and teach the families ways to curb and the disease,” said Ranchi civil surgeon Gopal Shrivastava.
Besides, ORS corners will also be opened at every state-run hospital.
“Mortality due to diarrhoea is pretty common and accounts for around 20 per cent of total mortality rate among children,” said Ashis Singhmar, director of national rural health mission in the state. Speaking at the launch of the campaign, he described the sahiyas as the “real sepoys”.
Unicef state head Job Zachariah, on the other hand, gave a positive picture. He said that child mortality rate in the state stood at 36 per 1,000 and was less than the national average of 44. “It would further go down if diarrhoea is controlled,” he added.
Zachariah advocated healthy practices such as institutional delivery, exclusive breast-feeding immediately after birth of a child and continuing it for six months, drinking boiled water and washing hands with soap.
“The poor are easy victims of such diseases,” said health minister Singh, adding that the focus of the campaign would be on rural areas.
Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, the minister said in order to recognise the efforts of the sahiyas, who play a pivotal role in the healthcare sector, the government would distribute 10,000 bicycles among them within two weeks. “Those who will perform outstandingly will get a scooter,” said the minister.