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IRIN Examines Pilot Project To Increase ORS Coverage For Treatment Of Child Diarrhea

IRIN examines ColaLife — a pilot project set to start in Zambia in September 2012 that will ship single-dose anti-diarrhea kits (ADKs) in crates of Coca-Cola bottles in an effort to increase the coverage of oral rehydration salts (ORS) for the treatment of diarrhea in children in the developing world. “Three-quarters of [diarrhea-related] deaths could be prevented with a simple course of [ORS] combined with zinc tablets, at a cost of just $0.50 per patient,” but, “despite being heavily promoted by the World Health Organization since the 1970s, fewer than 40 percent of child diarrhea cases in developing countries are treated with ORS,” the news service writes.

The kits, which “contain eight small sachets of low osmolarity ORS and a 10-tablet course of zinc,” “will be sold to Coca-Cola wholesalers, and then on to retailers who transport the crates to their shops, bars and kiosks,” according to IRIN. “During the ColaLife pilot, dozens of retailers and promoters, as well as two major wholesalers, will receive training in marketing the kits, while caregivers will get discounts in the form of paper coupons and mobile-phone money transfers,” the news service notes (3/2).

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