The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched the Intensified Diarrhea Control Fortnight (IDCF) in order to intensify efforts to reduce child deaths due to diarrhoea. The Ministry has made it a national priority to bring health outcomes among children to a level equitable with the rest of the world. Through this initiative, the Ministry will mobilize health personnel, State Governments and other stakeholders to prioritize investment in control of diarrhea, one of the most common childhood illnesses. It aims to create mass awareness about the most effective and low-cost diarrhoea treatment— a combination of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution and Zinc tablets.
During the fortnight, intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and promotion of ORS and Zinc therapy will be conducted at state, district and village levels. Narly 12 crore under 5-children will be covered during the program across the country. Almost all the deaths due to diarrhoea can be averted by preventing and treating dehydration by use of ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution), administration of Zinc tablets along with adequate nutritional intake by the child. Diarrhoea can be prevented with safe drinking water, sanitation, breastfeeding/appropriate nutrition and hand-washing.
A range of preventive and promotive interventions are already being implemented such as Vitamin A supplementation, promoting early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months and appropriate complementary feeding apart from capacity building and service provision of staff for management of childhood diarrhoea in all government health facilities. Besides this, introduction of Rotavirus vaccine under UIP will also help in reducing diarrhoea mortality due to rotavirus disease.