MAP International Helping Save Children from Oral Dehydration
By Katie Pace, Marketing Communications Officer, MAP International
Today, it’s estimated that 2,195 children will die from diarrhea. That’s just today, 2,195 children. The lives of over two thousand children a day are being lost to a preventable disease. That’s over 800,000 children a year whose deaths could have been prevented with proper medical care and early preventions like clean water and sanitation.
We need to work to bring these staggering death tolls to light outside of the global health community. Diarrheal diseases kill more children every single day than AIDS, malaria and measles combined – yet the solution is so much simpler.
In most cases these deaths are preventable through inexpensive health interventions that can prevent and treat this terrible killer.
Albendazole is a simple and cheap solution that when given only twice a year can prevent a variety of parasitic worms that can lead to dehydration, malnutrition and even death from diarrhea. Albendazole is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, medicines that MAP International focuses on because they are the most important medications needed in a basic health care system. Each pill costs less than 25 cents to purchase and distribute in a community in the developing world.
Another simple solution to dehydration caused by diarrhea is Oral Rehydration Salts, which is a mixture of Sodium, Chloride, Glucose and Potassium. This solution costs only pennies and can save the life of a child.
Just a few short weeks ago I found myself in Drimbo, Cote d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast as it’s so often referred. Armed with Albendazole from Vitamin Angels, our team gathered the entire community of 1,300 people together to be dewormed. MAP has worked with this community for many years and now in partnership with the Vibrant Village Project we will be able to implement even more health initiatives moving forward. The children knew exactly what to do, the majority of them even had their own plastic water cups with them. They stood in line smiling and playing and all it took was 10 seconds of placing a tiny pill on their tongues and giving them purified water to wash it down with. None of those children will have worms this year, beyond simple.
Just a short drive down the road we joined our team at the Beoumi Hospital where they have just finished the construction of a surgical ward. Just outside I came across Fidel, he couldn’t have been two years old yet. He was curled up on the clinic’s concrete floor beside his mothers’ feet, it was obvious he was in pain. He was dehydrated and had diarrhea. In less than 10 minutes we had gone from seeing preventative health to the results of a child without Albendazole. As soon as he realized I was taking his photo his little eyes lit up and he couldn’t hide his beautiful joyful smile. Community Health programs in this village have worked and his mother knew to bring him to the clinic. Because of the treatment and care Fidel received he will be fine and healthy!
We have to ensure that children in the developing world aren’t dying from preventable diseases like diarrhea. Join with us in spreading the word of how Albendazole and ORT can save lives. #diarrheakills