Which research will help to reduce deaths from childhood diarrhea?

Mar 10, 2009

An international team of health researchers, writing in this week's PLoS Medicine, says that the number one research priority for reducing childhood deaths from diarrhoea is to find ways to improve the acceptability and effectiveness of oral rehydration solution (ORS).

But unfortunately, says the team, donor agencies have shown little interest in funding this type of research.

claims almost 2 million lives each year and is responsible for about 1 in 5 worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a new reduced osmolarity ORS for treating dehydrating diarrhoeal disease.

The 15 researchers, led by Olivier Fontaine at the WHO's Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, set out to define which research questions should be prioritized to improve the chances of cutting childhood by 2015. They used a methodology designed by the Child Health and Research Initiative (www.chnri.org) — in which all possible research options are initially listed and are then given scores.

The top 10% of research investments prioritized by the researchers included:

• What is the acceptability and effectiveness of the new reduced osmolarity ORS in the clinic as well as in the community?
• What is the effectiveness of zinc supplementation (a proven treatment against diarrhoea) on the outcome and incidence of diarrhoea in the community?
• What are the barriers against appropriate use of ORS?
• Designing locally adapted training programs to orient health workers on a treatment strategy called 'Integrated Management of Childhood Illness' (www.who.int/child_adolescent_health/topics/prevention_care/child/imci/en/index.html>)
• Identifying cost-effective, sustainable methods for community-based promotion and support for early initiation and continuation of breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life and prolonged breastfeeding.

"The main message of the process," say Fontaine and colleagues, "is that the research priorities to reduce global mortality from childhood diarrhoea within the present context are dominated by health systems, policy research, and epidemiological questions."

"These questions are mainly targeted at better understanding the barriers towards implementation, effectiveness, and optimisation of use of available interventions and programmes such as oral rehydration solution, zinc supplementation, exclusive breastfeeding, and Integrated Management of Childhood Illness."

The authors caution, however, that "very few donors agencies recognise the importance of these domains of health research and are willing to readily invest in those options."

More information: Fontaine O, Kosek M, Bhatnagar S, Boschi-Pinto C, Chan KY, et al. (2009) Setting research priorities to reduce global mortality from childhood diarrhoea by 2015. PLoS Med 6(3): e1000041. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000041, medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000041

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Childhood diarrhea: Treat with zinc over 6 months of age

Jul 16, 2008

Zinc supplementation benefits children suffering from diarrhoea in developing countries, but only in infants over six months old, Cochrane Researchers have found. Their study supports World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines ...

Lack of tuberculosis trials in children unacceptable

Aug 19, 2008

Ensuring the involvement of children in the evaluation of tuberculosis treatment is critical as we move forward in developing effective responses to active and drug-susceptible tuberculosis (TB), argues a new essay in this ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

22 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

22 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...