Management of acute childhood diarrhoea (7)

2 March, 2019

Dear HIFA and CHIFA colleagues,

We recently learned from the India National Family Health Survey [ http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-4Reports/India.pdf ] that '57 percent of children with diarrhoea were given less to drink and 5 percent were not given anything to drink'. As David Werner and others have explained on HIFA and CHIFA, the belief that a child with acute diarrhoea should receive less fluids is understandable but deadly. Hundreds of children die every day in India alone due to lack of basic healthcare knowledge. These 2015/16 data are even worse than those from the previous India NFHS (2005/6).

Anecdotally we hear about a similar picture in other countries. As I have said previously, my own passion for healthcare information was seeded by an experience as a young volunteer doctor in rural Peru, where I was witness to a preventable child death from diarrhoea (the child died in her mother's arms on the way to the health post). This had a profound impact on me because it was so clear that this death could easily have been avoided with water, sugar and salt - all readily available locally.

I would be very interested to know more about this. Can anyone tell us if National Family Health Surveys are available for countries other than India, and do they include comparable data?

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org