By Deborah Ariyo

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Nutrition International have launched the field implementation component of the Wellbeing Africa Foundation-Nutrition International Scaling Up Zinc and LO-ORS project to combat diarrhoea in Kano and Sokoto states in Nigeria.

The project, funded by the Government of Canada, seeks to increase timely care-seeking and treatment of diarrhoea with zinc and low-osmolarity oral rehydration salts  In partnership with the Ministries of Health in both states, Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Nutrition International will target caregivers with messages promoting prompt care-seeking for children with diarrhoea and adherence to treatment with zinc and LO-ORS.

Speaking on the development, the Founder and President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs Toyin Ojora  Sarakii expressed satisfaction with the dedication and commitment of the state Ministry of Health, primary health care development agencies and other ministries, departments and agencies to the project as well as other frontline health workers who are leading the charge to curb the menace of diarrhoea within north-western Nigeria.

She said the intervention was apt at a time when diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases are threatening the livelihoods of Nigerians, especially in the north-western part of Nigeria.

Saraki said: “The states will also receive technical and financial support to build the capacity of healthcare providers to treat diarrhoeal cases with zinc and LO-ORS and communicate with caregivers about the treatment, ensuring they can provide care for cases seen in health facilities or within the community.”

Speaking, Nutrition International Nigeria Program Director, Dr. Titioloa Adepeju Abolade said: “At Nutrition International, we believe scaling up zinc and LO-ORS to improve childhood diarrhoea treatment contributes to enhancing child survival.

“Diarrhoea is preventable and can be treated with zinc and LO-ORS. We are pleased to be partnering with the government and people of Sokoto and Kano states on this initiative with a focus on contributing to improving prompt health-seeking behaviour, capacity strengthening for health service providers and sustaining availability and access to quality zinc and LO-ORS in public health facilities in the states.”

Funded by the Government of Canada, the project has already trained nearly 200 health workers and administrators of selected primary and secondary health facilities in Kano and Sokoto states. The partners are looking to increase the number of caregivers who seek prompt care for cases of childhood diarrhoea by an additional 2,238,439 by 2023.

The National Programs Lead of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Dr Otun Adewale said it was important to train and retrain health workers on the management of childhood illnesses and the use of zinc and LO-ORS in the management of diarrhoea disease,  as it will enhance the capacity of the health workers.

“Diarrhoea is a leading cause of malnutrition and death in children under the age of five, and malnutrition is also known to prolong episodes of diarrhoea and increase mortality.”

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