Babacar, 4 months old, being treated for diarrhoea at the Joal Health Centre in Senegal<a hre.
WASHINGTON, D.C. June 14, 2012 Today, Zinc Alliance for Child Health (ZACH) partners Teck Resources Limited (Teck), the Micronutrient Initiative and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) signed the “Declaration on Scaling-Up Treatment of Childhood Diarrhea and Pneumonia” and are allocating $15 million to treat diarrhea in high-burden countries.
Diarrhea and pneumonia have been identified as the leading killers of children under the age of five worldwide and are responsible for 29 percent of all child deaths. Yet many of these deaths occur in just ten high-burden countries and can be prevented with a highly-effective treatment that combines oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc supplements, costing as little as 50 cents. At present fewer than 5% of children in need are receiving the recommended treatment.
“Using zinc supplements, along with ORS, to treat diarrhea not only helps children get better faster, it can even save their lives. It could very well usher in the next revolution in child survival, if we can accelerate its use,” says Venkatesh Mannar, President of the Micronutrient Initiative. “New national plans in high burden countries provide a perfect marriage of plans, opportunity for support, and potential for impact.”
ZACH is a public-private partnership between the Micronutrient Initiative, Teck and CIDA. It is dedicated to reducing child deaths from diarrhea through zinc and ORS scale-up. ZACH is allocating $15 million to support newly developed national action plans in prioritized high-burden countries where children are at the greatest risk of dying from diarrhea. Zinc is an essential micronutrient that can prevent and treat diarrhea.
“The challenge the world faces is not producing more zinc, it is getting zinc into the diets of people suffering from zinc deficiency,” says Doug Horswill, Senior Vice President of Teck. “As one of the world´s largest producers of zinc, we recognize the connection between zinc and health and we want to make a difference. ZACH gives us the opportunity to support the scale-up of zinc supplements and ultimately save children´s lives.” The “Declaration” was also signed by the U.S. Government and other leading global health groups. It is aimed at harnessing the resources, expertise and innovation of the private sector, development partners, governments and donors to maximize impact and reduce deaths from these two leading killers of children.
“The ZACH partnership is a development investment model that will produce results and save lives. We are pleased that this made-in-Canada initiative is being recognized at such a high level.” says the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Canadian Minister of International Cooperation. “ZACH strengthens Canada´s aid effectiveness by maximizing funds from Canada´s private sector, while targeting Canada´s commitment to improving the health of mothers and their children.”
Today´s declaration to scale-up treatment of diarrhea and pneumonia builds on previous ZACH commitments including the group´s recent launch of a new initiative with the Senegal Ministry of Health that will help treat thousands of children with diarrhea each year in that country.