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Asian Conference on Diarrhoeal Disease and Nutrition

  • 14 Nov 2022
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Diarrhoea, Diarrhoea, Cholera, Typhoid, Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) Solution, Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF), Integrated Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (IAPPD), Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS) Campaign, Rotavirus Vaccine Drive.

For Mains: Government Initiatives for Diarrhoeal Diseases.

Why in News?

Recently, Union Minister addressed 16th Asian Conference on Diarrhoeal Disease and Nutrition (ASCODD) at Kolkata. Delegates from India and other South East Asian countries, African countries, US, European countries joined the conference virtually.

What are the Key Highlights of the Conference?

  • The theme of the ASCODD was “Prevention and control of cholera, typhoid and other enteric diseases in low and middle-income countries through community participation: beyond the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic”.
  • The conference program focuses on the latest issues in enteric infections, nutrition, policy, and Practice including roadmap to end Cholera by 2030, Cholera vaccine development and rapid diagnostics, contemporary perspectives of antimicrobial resistance of enteric bacteria: new Initiatives and challenges, enteric bacterial infections, including Shigella spp, epidemiology, burden, and vaccines against other viral infections, including Hepatitis, lessons learned about diarrhoea research during the COVID pandemic.
  • Indian initiatives under Digital India initiative such as Online Registration System, eHospital for hospital management, eSanjeevani telemedicine app were highlighted.

What is Diarrhoeal Disease?

  • About:
    • Diarrhoea is defined as the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day (or more frequent passage than is normal for the individual).
    • The most severe threat posed by diarrhoea is dehydration.
      • During a diarrhoeal episode, water and electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium and bicarbonate) are lost through liquid stools, vomit, sweat, urine and breathing.
      • Dehydration occurs when these losses are not replaced.
  • Statistics:
    • Diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old.
      • Each year diarrhoea kills around 525,000 children under five.
    • Globally, there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of childhood diarrhoeal disease every year.
  • Clinical Types:
    • Acute Watery Diarrhoea – lasts several hours or days, and includes cholera;
    • Acute Bloody Diarrhoea – also called dysentery; and
    • Persistent Diarrhoea – lasts 14 days or longer.
  • Causes:
    • Infection: Diarrhoea can be caused by bacterial infections such as cholera and typhoid, or by viral and parasitic organisms, most of which are spread by faeces-contaminated water.
    • Malnutrition: Children who die from diarrhoea often suffer from underlying malnutrition, which makes them more vulnerable to diarrhoea.
    • Contaminated Food and Water: Contamination with human faeces, for example, from sewage, septic tanks and latrines, is of particular concern. Animal faeces also contain microorganisms that can cause diarrhoea.
  • Prevention:
    • Access to safe drinking-water;
    • Use of improved sanitation;
    • Hand washing with soap;
    • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life;
    • Good personal and food hygiene;
    • Health education about how infections spread; and
    • Rotavirus vaccination.
  • Treatment:
    • Rehydration with Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS): ORS is a mixture of clean water, salt and sugar. It costs a few cents per treatment. ORS is absorbed in the small intestine and replaces the water and electrolytes lost in the faeces.
    • Zinc Supplements: Zinc supplements reduce the duration of a diarrhoea episode by 25% and are associated with a 30% reduction in stool volume.
    • Rehydration with Intravenous Fluids: This is done in case of severe dehydration or shock.
    • Nutrient-rich Foods: The vicious circle of malnutrition and diarrhoea can be broken by continuing to give nutrient-rich foods – including breast milk – during an episode, and by giving a nutritious diet – including exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life – to children when they are well.
    • Consulting a Health Professional: For management of persistent diarrhoea or when there is blood in stool or if there are signs of dehydration.

What are the Related Initiatives by India?

  • Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF): To increase awareness about use of ORS and Zinc in diarrhoea, ICDF is being observed during pre-monsoon/ monsoon season, with the aim of ‘zero child deaths due to childhood diarrhoea’ since 2014.
  • Integrated Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (IAPPD): In 2014, India launched the Integrated Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (IAPPD) to undertake collaborative efforts towards prevention of diarrhoea and pneumonia-related under-five deaths.
  • Universal Immunization Programme (UIP): It was launched by the government in 1985 and prevents mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases including pneumonia and diarrhoea.
  • Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS) Campaign: It seeks to reduce child mortality due to pneumonia, which contributes to around 15% of deaths of children under the age of five annually.
  • Rotavirus Vaccine Drive: In 2019, the government of India launched a rotavirus vaccine drive across all states and Union Territories, which was an unprecedented national scale-up of the rotavirus vaccine.

Source: PIB

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