News / Africa

Kenya Launches Renewed Effort to Control Killer of Young Children

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Kenya has announced it will re-double efforts to control diarrheal diseases, one of the biggest killers of children under age five.  Among the causes are unsafe water, as well as poor sanitation and hygiene.

Kenyan ministries, U.N. organizations and health-related agencies have joined forces to reverse a rising rate of diarrheal disease in the country.  They unveiled what they call a renewed effort at a time when “global progress against the disease has stalled.”

One of the agencies involved is PATH.  Alfred Ochola is its primary health care coordinator in Kenya for the project.

“The renewed effort is important because it has come out that diarrhea is increasing, as opposed to what it was in the 90s,” he says.

Ochola says one reason for the increase was a shift of resources to other major health threats.

“Many efforts had been diverted to another important cause – HIV/AIDS and malaria.  And then the area that used to be the main focus for the control and prevention of diarrhea was kind of not given the right focus,” he says.

As a result, there is a renewed emphasis on what are known as O.R.T.C. – or oral rehydration therapy corners, where children can receive quick and easy treatments that could save their lives.

“What it is is a designated place in the hospital, particularly where children are seen, especially those with diarrhea.  The importance of these corners is that if children do not pass through that corner they come in the late stages with complications with severe dehydration.  And these are usually the children who now die from diarrhea, which should not be the case,” he says.

Oral rehydration therapy is usually an inexpensive solution of salt, sugar and water.

Meaning well, doing harm

Unfortunately, many mothers may be misinformed about how to treat the disease and may actually make matters worse.

Ochola says these children should be given more fluids than usual.  

What’s more, he says, “They should be fed.  But you might find that now mothers in the rural villages think the best way to handle the issue is now to stop the feeding, stop giving more fluids.  And even worse, stop breastfeeding, which means now the children will be starved of the required fluids and food, which is necessary.

Most of the cases of diarrhea and infant mortality occur in western Kenya.

Boosting prevention efforts

Kenya is also stepping up its vaccination program against a leading cause of diarrhea, the rotavirus.  With funding from the GAVI Alliance, PATH operates the Rotavirus Vaccine Program – a partnership that includes the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

It’s estimated up to two million children die every year around the world from diarrheal disease.  It’s the third biggest killer of children under age five in Kenya, following malaria and pneumonia.

“Malaria is also closely linked to diarrhea.  Most children, when they have an attack of malaria, they also have diarrhea.  So when you have a combination of malaria and diarrhea, those children end up in the bigger circle of ending up with malnutrition.  One of the complications of malnutrition is diarrhea,” he says.

The PATH health coordinator says there will also be greater efforts to raise awareness about the disease.

Ochola says the message is diarrhea can kill, but it can be prevented.  And proper hygiene, safe water and sanitation can do that.

The renewed effort to control the disease includes various Kenyan ministries, PATH, UNICEF, Population Services International and the Micronutrient Initiative.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid