No child should die of diarrhea
Yet an estimated 800,000 children less than five years old do die from diarrheal disease each year and millions more are hospitalized—not in wealthy countries, but in the developing world. There, children are at especially high risk because of unsanitary conditions and unsafe water. And on top of the high risk, when a child gets sick, health care can be hard to come by. Some families live more than a day’s walk from health services. Others are simply too poor to afford a doctor, even for a child who is dehydrated and gravely ill.
It doesn’t have to be this way, especially when it comes to diarrhea. In fact, many cases of diarrhea can be prevented through simple measures such as good hygiene, nutrition, and breastfeeding—as well as through new vaccines. And even without medical care, there are things families can do at home to treat diarrhea, if only they know about them.
That's why, in addition to working on ways to make water safer, developing technologies to quickly diagnose the cause of diarrhea, and developing vaccines against several of the major causes, we're also promoting inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhea and treat dehydration. Our goal is to help kids in poor countries get the same world-class protection that most children in wealthy countries get. It is protection that every child deserves.
Photo: Heng Chivoan.