Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) partnered with YWCA of Nigeria in training some members of YWCA Lagos Area Council on Diarrhoea Management in Children using Zinc and ORS.

The training which was conducted at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) on 19th November 2015, centered on identifying the signs and symptoms of diarrhoea, encouraging the use of recommended Ministry of Health (MOH) standard treatment guidelines for diarrhoea, enlightening mother/caregivers on the care of a child with diarrhoea, and the right way to administer prescribed treatments.

Dr. Olarenwaju, a Pediatric Consultant and trainer explained that diarrhoea, the passage of usually loose or watery stool at least 3 times in a 24- hour period, is the cause of up to 90,970 deaths, which constitutes 11% in under 5 mortality in Nigeria followed by Malaria, Pneumonia, Neonatal causes, HIV/AIDS amongst others

Participants were educated on the symptoms of diarrhoea which includes: frequent and loose stool, vomiting, abdominal pains and inability to control defecation. If not managed properly, the increased loss of water and electrolytes during diarrhoea may lead to dehydration (which is fatal in children), worsen malnutrition, and weaken the immune system thereby increasing the risk of death from other opportunistic diseases.

It was said that since 2004, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF recommended a new regiment of Zinc+ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts). This is because Zinc supplementation in children under 5 significantly reduces the severity and duration of diarrhoea; and reduces the likelihood of reoccurrence in 2-3 months after a diarrhoea episode. ORS on the other hand, replaces lost fluids and essential salts needed to maintain the body functions, and ensures the right balance of essential glucose and salts which work together to support optimal absorption of fluids in the body.

Participants were encouraged to effectively incorporate Zinc-ORS messages into their programmes and activities with YWCA branches in attendance reiterating their commitment to include knowledge gained into their maternal and child care programmes and also share the message within their communities.

Ijeoma Ogbonaya from Aguda branch who participated at the training, said “this is definitely going to equip more mothers with information that will ultimately save many children’s lives. I am really grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this training and I am almost too eager to start sharing the knowledge gained”.