South African news
The enormous cost and outcomes of scaling up diarrhoea prevention has for years been a major concern among health experts, governments and activists alike. Although progress has been made in minimizing diarrhoea, several challenges still remain in the overall prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, which accounts for approximately 20% of under-five deaths, with 9 out of 10 death reportedly occuring in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.
Among the main challenges that remain is the accurate diagnosis of the disease, which is essential in combating the resistance of diarrhoea pathogens. Educating health professionals and patients about the preventative measures of diarrhoea is another major hurdle that needs to be addressed in the management of the disease.
In an effort to create awareness for and preventive measures necessary in limiting the mortality and morbidity associated with diarrhoea, Dettol has joined hands with the Gauteng Department of Health (DoH) to launch the Dettol Pop-Up Clinic Programme. This one of its kind initiative is targedted towards previously disadvantaged communities highly affected by the disease. The aim is to educatate them on good hand hygiene behaviour, as handwashing with soap alone had been proven to prevent up to 50% of childhood diarrhoea.
The launch event, which formed part of the Dettol Hand Hygiene Behaviour Change programme took take place at the Munsieville Community Clinic in Krugersdorp (west of Johannesburg), which is among the highest areas impacted by kid mortality due to diarrhoea.
The programme, which seeks to encourage and supply accessible simple healthcare to underprivileged communities introduced the brand new Moms Hospital programme. Its goal is to enlighten new mothers and pregnant women on helpful hygiene suggestions, like handwashing, area cleaning and food handling.
Commenting on the programme, which has reached more than 16 million kids since its inception in 2006, Kunal Sahgal, marketing director of RB Health says: “The pop-up clinic programme will roll out across the country and it will focus on high-risk areas such as rural areas, informal settlements, areas with poor water and sanitation services and in need of better health facilities.”
The primary aim of the Dettol Pop-Up clinics he says, is to help improve the health of children and to boost their prospects for a better life. “No child should die from preventable diseases. We are proud to partner with the Department of Health in ensuring access to quality healthcare and we look forward to making a positive contribution to the South African healthcare sector,” adds Sahgal.
Poor health habits blamed for high rates of diarrhoea
According to latest figures, the national infant mortality rate is estimated at between 27 and 33 deaths per 1 000 births. This’s partially as a result of the continued death of kids through avoidable diseases such as diarrhoea – primarily due to poor health habits of the pregnant mother and during the first 1 000 days of the child’s life. Diarrhoea is ranked as the second leading reason for death among kids under five, based on the latest report by World Health Organisation2. Nevertheless, many youth diarrhoea cases are preventable through enough sanitation as well as good ygiene – like handwashing with water and soap.
As such, The DoH aims to positively effect hand hygiene behaviour, with the hope of enhancing the overall health of South African citizens, particularly women and children. “We are very happy to have Dettol as someone in mitigating health consequences connected to general hygiene and poor hand amongst children and women. The launch of the program is going to go quite a distance in training the general public regarding the advantages of right handwashing and also affording them ability to access best healthcare,” concluded Thuso Montwedi, West Rand District Health Services spokesperson.
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