Over 700,000 diarrhoea cases were treated in three provinces of Pakistan through zinc and LOORS by Greenstar Social Marketing with the financial and technical support of Nutrition International. Zinc and LOORS is considered as the first-line treatment for diarrhoea for children under 5 years of age. This was shared in a project dissemination event, organized by Greenstar Social Marketing in collaboration with Nutrition International (NI), to share best practices and lessons learnt under the project.
Greenstar Social Marketing, with the financial and technical support of NI, implemented a 18 months project entitled, ‘Institutionalizing Use of Zinc and LOORS as a combination in diarrhoea management in Private Sector, in more than 55 districts of Sindh, Punjab and KP.
The program aimed to contribute towards reducing child morbidity and mortality in Pakistan. More than 33,000 children lose their lives every year due to diarrhoea in Pakistan. The project introduced the combination of Zinc and Low Osmolarity ORS (LoORS) intervention as the first line of treatment for Diarrhoea in children under five years of age through Greenstar’s Sabzsitara Network which is the largest network of private sector healthcare providers in Pakistan and Community Health Workers (Sitara Bajis).
While sharing achievements of the project, Dr Syed Azizur Rab, Chief Executive Officer, Greenstar Social Marketing mentioned that Greenstar managed to treat 700,000 diarrhoea cases through 3,000 private sector healthcare providers, 350 community workers during a period of 18 months. “350 Sitara Bajis were trained to serve at the household level proved to be the backbone of the project; provided services even in the harsh weather. Awareness raising among caregivers on the importance of Zinc and LOORS, its dosage, frequency, danger sign, exclusive breast feeding, frequent hand washing, good nutrition and immunity were undertaken the Sitara Bajis,” he added.
Dr. Shabina Raza, Country Director, Nutritional International said that unfortunately every 12th child under the age of 5, dies due to diarrhoea or its related complications in Pakistan, which is preventable. The recent Health Survey shows 19% children suffered from diarrhoea, of whom only 8% received zinc with ORS. Due to GSM’s large network across the country, the Greenstar Social Marketing was awarded a contract for integrating and institutionalizing childhood diarrhoea management with Zinc & LOORS, in their existing model.
sustainability and should be scaled up further across the country. Dr. Raza shared that NI also donated 70 K Zinc syrup and 200,000 ORS to DG health in their respective provinces through BRSP and GSM for flood affected districts. She thanked the participants for attending and participating the event which showed their ownership.
Dr. Sabina Durrani, Director General (Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination) said that this intervention may reduce the burden of disease and child mortality which ultimately contribute in SDGs.
Dr. Baseer Achakzai, Director Health and Programs, Ministry of National Health Services, appreciated the efforts of NI and GSM for treating over 700,000 diarrhea cases in the last couple of months. According to him such interventions reduced child mortality and morbidity. If the child gets diarrhoea again and again his health will be compromised and zinc and LOORS in combination reduces the intensity and frequency of diarrhoea.
Dr. Khawaja Masuood, Coordinator, Nutrition Wing, MoNHSR&C) emphasized on exclusive breastfeeding which reduced the chances of diarrhoea and other infections. He mentioned that Zinc and LOORS has been included in the PC1 of Nutrition at federal level.
Dr. Khalil Ahmed Project Director, IRMNCH, Punjab mentioned that LHWs are already using zinc and LOORS for diarrhoea management among children. He said, they know the importance of zinc and LOORS as combi-pack and are available to facilitate GSM and NI for getting its registration from DRAP.
Dr. Sohail Saqlain appreciated the efforts of Diarrhoea management through Zinc and LOORS by involving the private sector. He said GSM and NI project is a good example of integration and resource leveraging.