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PROGRESS FOR CHILDREN: A WORLD FIT FOR CHILDREN STATISTICAL REVIEW View Previous Editions>

CHILDREN LIVING IN POOR HOUSEHOLDS AND IN RURAL AREAS ARE LESS LIKELY TO RECEIVE RECOMMENDED TREATMENT FOR DIARRHOEAL DISEASES

Percentage of children under five with diarrhoeal diseases receiving oral rehydration or increased fluids with continued feeding in developing countries, by background characteristics (2000-2006)

Diarrhoeal diseases

Diarrhoeal diseases

World Fit for Children target: Reduce by one half deaths due to diarrhoea among children under the age of five

Diarrhoeal diseases account for nearly 2 million deaths a year among children under five, making them the second most common cause of child death worldwide. For more than two decades, oral rehydration therapy (ORT) has been the cornerstone of treatment programmes for childhood diarrhoeal diseases. Recommendations on its use have changed over time, however, and there is thus a relative lack of comparable treatment data from the early to mid-1990s. Though limited, the data indicate that coverage of treatment for children under five appears to have improved significantly across the developing world (excluding China) over the past decade, including in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. But coverage still remains too low.

Measures to prevent childhood diarrhoeal episodes include promoting exclusive breastfeeding, raising vitamin A supplementation rates, improving hygiene, increasing the use of improved sources of drinking water and sanitation facilities, promoting zinc intake and immunizing against rotavirus.

AROUND ONE THIRD OF CHILDREN WITH DIARRHOEAL DISEASES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD RECEIVE THE RECOMMENDED TREATMENT

Percentage of children under five with diarrhoea who receive oral rehydration or increased fluids with continued feeding, by region (2000-2006)

 

COVERAGE OF RECOMMENDED TREATMENT SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED FROM 1995 TO 2005

Yet, data are limited
Percentage of children under fi ve with diarrhoea receiving oral rehydration or increased fl uids with continued feeding, based on an analysis of fi ndings from 31 developing countries (1995-2005)

 

ORAL REHYDRATION THERAPY: CHANGING DEFINITIONS

Programme recommendations on treating diarrhoeal diseases have changed over time; they refl ect a better understanding of what works at home and in the community. In the 1980s, the World Health Organization recommended treating diarrhoeal episodes with a solution of oral rehydration salts (ORS); subsequent research showed that home-made fluids &em; particularly those containing sodium and glucose, sucrose or other carbohydrates, like cereal-based solutions &em; could be just as effective. By the early 1990s, the importance of increasing fl uids and continued feeding, and more recently, the use of zinc and low-osmolarity ORS in preventing and treating diarrhoeal episodes, has been emphasized.

 

Source for figures on this page: UNICEF global databases, 2007. Trend analysis is based on a subset of 31 developing countries where comparable trend data were available; the estimate for sub-Saharan Africa does not include Nigeria, and the estimate for developing countries does not include China. Disparity analysis is based on a subset of 83 countries where data on background characteristics were available.